Opinion: Be a responsible media consumer

Responsible media consumption is becoming a thing of the past. It's time to start being informed citizens again.
Photo from Pixabay.com.

MADELINE RAINERI News Editor

As days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months, new viral videos, pictures and memes circulate throughout our social feeds sometimes faster than we can even process the content that is being plastered in front of our faces. 

One of the videos making its rounds this week is about local news anchors across the United States reading the exact same script about fake news.

Journalists and lay people alike have proclaimed their outrage at the audacity of the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the corporation in charge of stations like KDNL in St. Louis. Sinclair Broadcast Group is also trying to negotiate buying Tribune Media Co. which would impact two other local St. Louis stations. 

While the video mashup of anchors from different cities reciting a pre-packaged segment on fake news is disgruntling, to say the least, it certainly cannot be that shocking.

The general public has become careless and quite frankly reckless in their pursuit of news and information outside of the content bubble in which we exist. We accept anything and everything we see from major media outlets as the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth without so much as even lifting a finger to explore options outside of what we have been spoonfed. 

We accept blatant distruths as reality and continue propagating the spread of unreliable and destructive fake content by our blatant disregard for responsible media consumption and operation. We exist in a fantasy land where doctored images and false accusations constantly circulate, only reaffirming our narrow and self-limiting viewpoints. 

This complacency in our media consumption has absolutely spawned the tragedy that is corporations like the Sinclair Broadcast Group being able to air the same script across a variety of stations.

This complacency in our media consumption has absolutely spawned the tragedy that is corporations like the Sinclair Broadcast Group being able to air the same script across a variety of stations.  

The concept of a 24-hour news cycle and our insatiable hunger for any news (even if it’s not accurate news) has forced us into a larger ring that must account for a wider and diversified audience. The journalists bringing us our information are no longer blue-collar working class high school graduates with a knack for writing and a passion for truth-telling. We are now rapidly consuming media produced by highly skilled individuals with extensive training and impressive resumes with a drive for the dollar, reporting on a broader spectrum of news than just about the car break-in that happened up the street. 

But there has been no large-scale repulsion, decrying the likes of CNN and Fox News because they are giving the general public exactly what they wantIncendiary and divisive rhetoric focused on a hyper-specific group that devours the affirmations that their opinions are valid through unprofessional reporting. 

And that is how corporations like Sinclair Broadcast Group have slowly but surely integrated their agenda into our daily lives. It’s not even new, according to a New York Times article from 2017 that shows SBG’s push for “right-leaning” content to be used by television stations. 

We have worked ourself into a position that is, to be cliché, right between a rock and a hard place. We have cornered ourselves thoroughly by 1). blindly believing everything we are told through media, 2). refusing to open our content bubbles to allow all varieties of news and varied reporting styles in to develop a larger opinion and 3). refusing to be accountable for our own part in the continuation of “fake news.” 

The bottom line is that fake news and biased reporting will continue to be a problem because we let it. 

Stop letting runaway emotions and your need for validation from external sources pollute the space we all use: the internet. 

And for the record, your teens probably aren’t snorting condoms either. 

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About Madeline Raineri 84 Articles
Maddie is our news editor and is also online savvy. She covers news and men's ice hockey. If she's not covering news stories or watching hockey, you can find Maddie hanging out in the LARC drinking iced tea or working for a local craft brewery. She also does freelance web design and social media work for small businesses and entrepreneurs in St. Louis. She has two dogs, a boxador named Kona and a German Shepherd named Remy. One lives with her and her roommates in their campus house and the other lives with her parents.