Sunday, May 16, 2021

Why People Hate the Media

 Tyler Cowen from 2016, recently called out as one of his best posts:

Haven’t you noticed this? I have a simple hypothesis. No matter what the media tells you their job is, the feature of media that actually draws viewer interest is how media stories either raise or lower particular individuals in status. That’s even true for this blog, though that is never my direct intention.

But now you can see why people get so teed off at the media. The status ranking of individuals implied by a particular media source is never the same as yours, and often not even close. You hold more of a grudge from the status slights than you get a positive and memorable charge from the status agreements.

In essence, (some) media is insulting your own personal status rankings all the time. You might even say the media is insulting you. Indeed that is why other people enjoy those media sources, because they take pleasure in your status, and the status of your allies, being lowered. It’s like they get to throw a media pie in your face.

In return you resent the media.

A good rule of thumb is that if you resent the media “lots,” you are probably making a number of other emotional mistakes in your political thought.


Shadow said...

I don't have a particular feeling about "Media" because the word covers too much ground, many different interests, and all kinds of personalities. Cable news, major newspapers, bloggers like Cowen, and social media like twitter and Facebook, are guaranteed to each evoke a different feeling in me. As too status of guests, television always skews things.

G. Verloren said...


Agreed - this is a large and complex topic, with answers changing both depending on the what kind of 'media' you are specifically talking about, and with the consumer.

For example, when I feel hate toward media of one kind or another, it's usually for things like engaging in yellow journalism, cynically manipulative practices, etc. I cannot stand media whose primary reason for being is to make money (rather than to produce productive and valuable discourse (with making money being a secondary necessary evil), and which goes about making money in awful, scummy ways. Too many media outlets of all kinds care little for truth, principle, fairness, etc, and only care about ratings, page views, "engagement", and other profit metrics.

None of that is addressed by Cowen in his (overly) "simple hypothesis".