Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Is News Media Fiction?

Last night I had an interesting conversation about news media.

The topic came up and eventually led to a long discussion about whether or not news media is a form of fiction.

Arguments included:

News is Fiction: Most news doesn’t affect you in an immediate capacity.

News is Fact: It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t affect you personally; emotional reaction matters, too.

News is Fiction:
Emotional reactions don’t produce anything tangible.

News is Fact:
There is value in emotion.

News is Fiction: The only things that are real are the things you experience in person.

News is Fact:
It doesn’t make sense to disconnect yourself from the rest of the world because you don’t experience everything personally. Eventually, some events will trickle back to you.

News is Fiction: News isn’t always accurate.

News is Fact: News is how I learn about what happens in the world.

We traveled down the rabbit hole for a few more hours and in the end, we decided that both ends of the argument carried some legitimacy.

The interesting thing about the discussion is that while news is based on factual events, it isn’t always accurate and unbiased. It tells a story, though, and stories are what draw an audience. There are people working behind the curtain that are really good at making this happen. Take reality TV and the Casey Anthony trial, for example.

More than anything I think it’s important to understand the mechanism and use sound judgment when deciding how to react.

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