The Millennial Media...and its Problem
“We’ve got stars directing our fate,
And we’re praying it’s not too late,
Cause we know we’re falling from grace…Millennium.”
You may be familiar with these lyrics as they come from one of my favorite songs “Millennium,” by Robbie Williams. It came in 1998, and was a huge hit because it resembles the culture of the modern world quite well. It’s been 13 years since that song came out, and even though many things are different, some remain quite the same. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post in this blog, one of the reasons I (and many others) originally decided to major in journalism in college is because of the amazing stories life can tell us. The stories that glitter amidst the gloomy funk in this world are what many decent journalists strive to find in their willowy careers.
But what I remember from college that I want to point out now is how powerful media is and how sometimes media can take great advantage of that power. Many times, there are good intentions behind it. But more often than not lately, the media’s intentions seem harmful and scattered. The vast kingdom of journalism and media goes through this from time to time. And with the blast off of social media in recent years, it now seems worse than ever. What I mean is that all I see lately are money-hungry networks and advertisers spreading lies and gossip just to make a few dollars.
If you don’t think this is true, check out the subway ads the next time you are in New York City. Alcohol ads often blanket subway cars on a regular basis because they are willing to pay to cover the whole car. And as if that weren’t enough nonsense to begin with, MTA still has ads up that were posted a couple of weeks before May 21st, 2011, stating the world was going to end and to buy a book about it. Hmmm what day is it? Last time I checked the world is still here. Hey uh…MTA, if you’re reading this, will you take those down now please??...please! Just refund the idiots their money. They need it anyway since they were wrong and quit their jobs. It's not that hard to do, but the MTA probably won’t take them down until paid time-frame is over. Why? Simply because the time allotted for someone who paid a HUGE amount of money for those ads go up isn't over yet. So the MTA feels “obligated” (financially that is) to leave them up…even though those ads are a blatant falsehood, staring you in the face on your way to work. Stupidity at its finest folks, enjoy the indulgence of ethical immorality at its finest.
Which brings me to another point. Why do we go along with this kind of irrational? Why do stories that mimic the play Chicago echo across media waves lately? Why do mainstream women’s magazines talk of nothing more than sex, food and make-up as if we don’t have brains and think of anything else? Why was the downfall of Anthony Weiner’s tweets publicized internationally in places where people are saying “Weiner who?” Why do state law makers combine completely unrelated issues to discuss before passing a gay-marriage bill? Because it’s dramatic and “sexy” that’s why. And that’s what sells, so they say, even though if the media wanted to change what is deemed sexy they could, but they won’t. That would put Star Magazine out of business (gasp!). I think the following song lyric from “Millennium” below says it better than I do…
“We all enjoy the madness cause we know we’re gonna fade away…”
Never mind the more important news reports that could have made better sound-bites which fortunately are at least minimally reported…you know like the horrible floods in Mississippi, tornados ripping through the Midwest of the United States, war in Lebanon, more women raped in Congo, another ring of boys molested by priests, Middle Eastern Muslim women being whipped for driving and countless other important events worth reporting on but are only whispered among the air-ways.
On the contrary for nearly a month after Weiner’s little embarrassing tweet moment, his story made front page of local papers in my area at least three times a week. The sad reality is that this is what happens and continues to happen as a result of large money hungry media outlets and advertising companies. And journalists need to eat…so unfortunately some succumb to continous reporting about the drama. The cycle continues to repeat, and may keep going until the economy gets better in America...maybe. So who cares if the information is true right? How much do you want to pay to print it? Or air it? That’s all that matters at the moment. As a result, mountains are created from molehills of stories that probably shouldn’t have been reported on...or at least not as breaking news in the first place.
Now I’m not saying valuable information isn’t distributed. I just mentioned some very important stories I learned about from the news. But that isn’t the norm and it should be. For those who disagree, if this weren’t true, a subway ad such as the religious one mentioned earlier may not have existed, alcohol ads would possibly be limited in size, and people wouldn’t give about $140,000 of their life-savings to spread something so absurd. Oh and Fox News…would probably be out of business.
I’m also not requesting a hindrance on freedom of speech here. That’s not what I’m getting at, and it’s not really the super-religious I’m upset about this time. There will always be some crazy lunatic running around saying something crazy about how oompa- loompa zombies will come around in the middle of the night to tear you limb from limb if you don’t pray enough...or PAY enough to remain protected. But we can choose to ignore it, or dive right into their sticky little money grubbing nets.
So I call upon the media to be a little less “yellow” and a little more “black and white” when it comes to future stories. It will enrich us as a country for sure, It always has in the past. Of course it’s not as “sexy,” as the tenacious story of Rihanna and Pink wearing the same outfit, but we will be a smarter country for it. Think of it as kind of looking at a plumber’s butt while he works, but without seeing the crack because the jeans actually fit. Ah, how nice that is to see right? Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for all of you plumbers out there, I’d just want see the see the fruits of your labor without having to get the full view of the streaks on your “tighty-whities.” I hope the media will change for the better soon…because after all, we are at their mercy.
Stay tuned for my next post which will recommend excellent media outlets who enrich the mind and lives of women and men...devoid of most sexual inuendos.
Until Next Time!
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