In my previous post I talked about my disatisfaction with watching sport in the US and how it is being overtaken by advertising. This concern is minor, however, in comparison to my next thesis which is that we are all being dragged into feelings of outrage and anger by the same advertising and media businesses. Some of these companies, are, in my view, actually in the business of creating outrage and selling advertising off the back of it.
Before we go any further I am not going to get dragged into a discussion about my political views. This is irrelevant to this post. I feel that media organizations claiming to represent each side of the American political divide are equally culpable.
Lets take Fox News as an example. I pick them, not for any reason other than because they are the most popular cable news channel by some distance over the others. They know their audience. Watch for any period of time and the adverts you will see are for medicines, old age homes, long term investments such as silver, walking sticks, luxury cars etc etc. They have no shortage of advertisers and, as a result, they are very profitable.
If you were running Fox News how would you maximize the advertising revenue for your company? You would create lots of content that would compel your target audience to keep watching as long as possible so they see as many adverts as possible. They run news 24 hours a day and therefore there is a lot of ‘news’ that is required to be able to create such ‘stickiness’ with viewers.
Do do this...you would create as much controversy and outrage with your audience as possible in 24 hours. Get everyone to examine, discuss, tweet etc about the subjects you raise and then the next day start the whole process again. The best possible scenario being that the previous days items is sufficiently ‘news worthy’ to need more that 24 hours of coverage.
Does this sound familiar? So if you take the perspective of FOX, CNN, CNBC, Huffington Post, Washington Post etc etc they need as much outrage from all of us as possible so they can generate revenue. It has got so bad that even what each ‘news’ organization is saying is part of the news cycle. You know that things are bad when this happens.
My advice, try hard not to get outraged and fall into their trap. If you do, then all you are doing is handing the owners of the news groups more money ultimately out of your pocket when you pay for the products doing the advertising!