Tuesday, 6 September 2011
The unethical treatment of news event information
We like violence. We like stories that shock and scare us. It is interesting to us. And unfortunately, this is what drives the "news" industry. It's not the fault of CEOs. It's OUR fault. We tell them that this is what we want and they deliver.
Do we really want this? We certainly act as though we do. It is what we talk about with our friends, our coworkers around the water cooler. "Did you see the news last night? Horrifying, wasn't it?" But when you speak with individuals, most people profess to find that same thing distasteful. "They only show bad news. It's all murder and mayhem." When we stop and thinking about it, considering our actual information wants and needs and how we want to be seen by others, we cry out for truth not entertainment. This is the difference between conscious and unconscious behaviour. When we reflect on our actions, we remain civilized. When we stop reflecting, due to fatigue, distractions, and misunderstanding, we act barbaric. At least in terms of our information-related behaviour.
We need to make more of an effort to stay conscious of our actions: think about what we are watching on the news, consider how it makes us feel and act, reflect on what it makes us think about and share with the people around us, and, most importantly, how it affects our actions and beliefs that, in turn, affect our media choices that are used to determine what gets communicated to us in the first place. The advice most appropriate given the video above is that we need to be the change we want to see in our environment. We exist in an echo chamber: what we do changes what happens to us which changes what we do. Recognizing that allows us to take a little control back.