Media-Opoly: The Forgotten SNL Spot

November 24, 2022

One Response to “Media-Opoly: The Forgotten SNL Spot”

  1. jimbills Says:

    The problem with mainstream media isn’t so much that we have it, or even that is has a monopoly – but that it operates by a profit-driven model. Many European countries have public mass media, and they lack the kind of outright media censorship and messaging that we have in the States.

    Another big problem with mass media in our time is that it is centered in wealthier centers of population, and so tends to represent the interests of the wealthier before other parts of society, leaving those parts disenfranchised (and often angry because of it).

    But – and it’s a big one – we NEED a mass media. It’s a gigantic mistake to think that ‘democratizing’ media, at least in the form of social media, is a better system, for the following reasons:

    The internet is already the driving force behind the paralyzing political fracturing of our society, because people are able to silo themselves and only receive the messaging they personally want to get. A culture requires ‘common stories’ to be cohesive, and mass media is the best, and perhaps the only, method to deliver these. A corrupt media often leads to poor outcomes, absolutely, but a culture without commonality will destroy itself.

    Unlike large media houses, individuals on social media lack the same levels of oversight and editing. They can say whatever they want to say, no matter how harmful or misleading those statements might be. This is fertile ground for a misinformed public. Imagine a past where the only news source for people were random people with megaphones shouting on street corners – that’s the internet today without mass media.

    Individuals are just as prone to corruption as groups. An individual on social media can easily be convinced to alter their messaging according to the wishes of their sponsors and influencers if their own status (or pay) is threatened.

    Social media, as it also runs on the profit model, rewards sensationalism and punishes truth-telling, It makes the loudest and lowest common denominator voices the most successful. Anything that draws views makes people money. A complex piece on a power imbalance in a state legislature, for instance, will largely be ignored, while some celebrity talking about their foot fetish will receive all the attention. I’m not sure there’s a better way to foster an Idiocracy than this.

    The internet isn’t all bad, of course. There is a lot that is incredibly beneficial in it. And, there’s a LOT that’s wrong with mass media, especially our model of mass media in the States. But, it’s all too popular these days to bash mass media, and I’m nervous that leads to some very dark roads in the age of the internet.


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