Let me make this straight forward … I don’t like the news media. The days of ethical, impartial reporting of news and events is long over. There was a day in the not-so-distant past that a news anchor (Walter Cronkite) was the most trusted person in America. Right now I wouldn’t trust any of the talking heads on camera to give me balanced information under any circumstances. It matters not whether you watch MSNBC, CNN, FOX, or any other alphabet soup of a network, they all put a slant on everything they report.
At least I have my beloved digital sources. I can skip over the crap that is obviously slanted or bias and zero in on the facts. A quick glance at the headline and the first paragraph or two will give me enough to know if I’m getting true reporting or someone twisting semantics to push their own agenda. I thought I was safe.
Maybe it’s because of my new-found revolt against consumerism or the holiday season, but I have noticed a disturbing trend lately. The line between news reporting and advertising has blurred. Scratch that, It has all but disappeared. Consider these recent headlines, all from major news source’s online versions:
- Best Buy CEO talks about his favorite gadgets
- Retail sales breaks records, Cyber Monday up next
- Amazon sees Kindle sales surge on Black Friday
- Holiday smart phone buyers guide
- Catch a six-inch Subway for only $2
Those are all real headlines. I’m talking about front page, bold print, pictures included in story headlines. I personally find it reprehensible that it has come to a point where these media sources are disguising revenue as news stories. I understand that it takes money to fuel these websites, and advertising is how it is generated. But give us advertising that is open about being advertising.
How do we combat the onslaught? Comment, write letters, protest, march on Madison Avenue? None of the above. STOP EATING WHAT THEY FEED YOU. Buy only what you truly need. Throw away your what you don’t need (or better yet donate it) and replace it with nothing. If you feel the need to buy something, exercise some restraint and think about it first. Realize that maybe you already have enough.
Half the battle is recognizing that advertising is nothing more than someone you don’t know trying to convince you that you’re not good enough and then get you to buy something you don’t need. I’m here to tell you that we are good enough. The rest is up to you.