Amish Elder: The Amish are immune to covid
Reporter: How’s that?
Amish Elder: The Amish don’t watch television
Maybe it’s just us but we get the sense that the media does have an alternate agenda these days. No, we are not conspiracy theorists. It’s just that any given headline is pounding the table for the next sign of impending doom. “Market Correction Imminent!”. “Covid Cases Up 60%!”. “Buy This Stock Now!”. “Life Will Never be the Same!.”
Headlines are worded to grab your attention. “Click bait” as it’s known. Back when media was entirely in print publishers seemed to be more judicious with their headlines and tones. Space was limited and ink was expensive. The internet and Social Media changed all that.
Now it’s whatever can get you to click through. These companies, platforms, websites usually make money by getting you to visit their content in order to get the advertisers in front of you. Content providers seem more than happy to feed our news addiction.
The problem with this is that impartiality has left the station. Media articles are often biased and partisan. Many headlines are designed to instill fear and divide us. Why? Because, well, fear sells. Good news it turns out doesn’t sell.
We’ll give you an example. If you read a headline that stated “Everything is OK”….would you click through to read it. Probably not. By playing to our primal fears, they get us to click the headline that reads “Impending Doom Imminent”. But there’s danger to that click. It begins to frame your thoughts and opinions. And in turn politicians make decisions not on logic but on polls based on public opinion. And we get a circle that can often lead to irrational decisions being made at higher and higher levels.
What do we mean by bias?
For example, generally when a figure on a news site is talking up a company he is already long (owns) that stock. He is talking “his book” in industry jargon. The same logic applies to someone who is overly negative on the markets. Many professional investors have large bets on the market falling.
Another sure sign a journalist is trying to scare you is also when they use percentages rather than numbers or numbers rather than percentages, to fit their narrative. If they tell you Covid hospitalizations are up 60% we are like OMG. But if they said that hospitalizations of people below 40 have gone from 5 to 8 people across a province with 10 Million people in it would you be so concerned? Just sayin’.
News outlets such as Fox News, CNN, CBC etc. all approach the news from a certain political position as I’m sure most of you are aware. Much of what is meant to be news is now more akin to entertainment in our opinion and should be treated as such. This creates an agenda in the news that you receive from the various outlets.
We are not infallible ourselves but here are a few suggestions we have with respect to interpreting different forms of media:
- Live more, worry less
- Watch and or read less news
- Don’t get caught up in the fear mongering or panic stories
- Get your news from various sources
- Plan something fun
Is the sky really falling? Maybe one day. But for now ….Enjoy yourself.
Have no fear for Atomic Energy ‘Cause none of them can stop the time. (Redemption Song, Bob Marley)
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