“The general population doesn’t know what’s happening, and it doesn’t even know that it doesn’t know.”

In George Orwell’s 1984, Winston Smith’s job is to rewrite old newspapers, so the “facts” always align with the ruling party’s Agenda.

It’s a silent war on consciousness where people are enslaved mentally, and they don’t even realize it because they are fully immersed in the intricately planned out illusion full of distractions and lies.

People are in constant fear and worry that they don’t even realize that they’re in a battle that they have to wake up in order to win…

The First Rule in the world, baby, don’t listen to anything that’s in the News — Kanye West

But are things as terrifying as the in the dystopian world of 1984 right now? Probably not…yet. But this still begs the question:

Why can the news make us feel as if the world is getting more horrible (dystopian) each day but never apply the same pessimistic outlook to themselves?

In this post, I’ll show you the part of the Dystopia the news doesn’t want you to see. The part which makes them shine in a bad light. Wouldn’t that be fair?

Hooked on making ourselves anxious

You probably already know that the news sucks. Not only because it’s mostly negative and blows things out of proportion but because we’re having this love-hate relationship with the news:

You get home and want to catch up on the latest news, and before you know it, 3 hours went by, and your inner peace is disrupted (aka. doomscrolling).

Photo by WebFactory Ltd on Unsplash

It’s like a slot machine. You never know when the next alarming crisis pops up in your news feed, which activates the flight or fight response in your brain, releasing dopamine and adrenaline in your body, which make you feel alive and aroused,

but (and here’s the catch) it quickly wanes off, making you feel worse off than before you saw it. And again, like me, before you know it, you find yourself compulsively checking the news for the latest fix again.

Pretty shitty deal if you ask me, but like with many things these days, social media, crystal meth, broken relationships, you know that that’s stuff bad for you, but you can’t get out of it.

Because as with everything that stimulates us, it becomes addictive over time. It’s designed to take our souls “CUT!” — Ok, this might be a little over sketched, but you get the point. — Let’s move on.

The news’s business model is fcked up beyond repair.

Can’t we just throttle our news consumption back a little, and we’ll be fine? That would be a start. But I would argue here that the business model of media companies is fcked beyond repair, so I’d even suggest consuming no news at all. There’s a multitude of reasons for it but let me throw in one Idea for now:

The competition among news companies has forced them to shift their business model towards creating the most emotional content, not the most factual. Why?

Because boring but factual news stands no chance against news that gets us emotionally worked up, like Trump doing something stupid for the x amount of time again. (Most of it is calculated for effect anyways)

Photo by Pau Casals on Unsplash

But even those stories get boring over time, so the news has to come up with even more ridiculous stories to keep you engaged.

Therefore, it’s almost inevitable that you’re getting skewed facts because their main goal is to entertain you to stay motivated to keep consuming. Because in the end, garnering more of your attention means more cash for them.

But perhaps you think you’re news source is generally objective, and after all, we can’t all be living under a rock like me, right?

Well, if that is enough to convince you, fine.

But if you dare to question yourself one more time, let me ask you this:

Do you think you see the world as it is? Chances are you do…

  1. But we live in a culture, and culture changes what we see. Therefore EVERYBODY is biased towards seeing what their culture believes is true.
  2. 2. The news fundamentally alters our culture because it determines what narratives are broadcast the furthest, loudest, and most frequently. Therefore, if the news can change our culture, then it can also influence what we think.
  3. Because the media is driven by business models that don’t have our best interest in mind, they’ll pollute our culture with artificial facts. Thus, People who don’t have a strong emotional footing get swayed into what the news wants them to believe.

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” -Stephen Hawking.”

People arguing about News: “I’m Right, you’re wrong,” “No, you’re wrong” Me:”maybe we all STFU?”

Real-life representation of People arguing about News: Photo by yang Miao on Unsplash

When I hear People arguing about events where they can’t know the details of but yet think that they can form an opinion, it just makes me wanna cringe and say:

“Never heard of someone named Dunning fuckin Kruger? Maybe you should look him up.”

Anyways, where were we?

Ah yeah, Humans are flawed, and therefore, the news that consists of humans is flawed. Even though we don’t like to admit it, humans find confronting views that don’t align with their own is emotionally distressing and harder to consider. And once our mind is made up, it’s pointless to argue against it.

As said before, we’re biased towards believing the things we and our Culture WANT to be true, even though they are NOT TRUE most of the time.

It even goes as far as when presented with evidence that disproves our beliefs; we rather come up with a hallucination to cover up the evidence (aka. Cognitive dissonance) rather than change our mind.

This is true on an Individual level and true on a state level, organizational level, or whatever level.

When given enough power, humans tend to favor their own version of the narrative and disregard the others. Everybody’s subjective to it to some degree. That’s just how it is.

But is it all hopeless?

Like me, I guess, the vast majority of People got lost entirely in determining what to believe is true or false.

And that’s okay. Being less certain about stuff and saying “I don’t know” is a powerful tool and the basis for making better decisions.

Maybe, let me ask you this: Is it worse to admit that you can’t know what’s going on in the world or keep deluding yourself?

If you hope that the media will change, they will not. The crises, the screaming, and violence won’t become any better.

It’s not going to change as long as our human nature won’t change — and this won’t happen anytime soon.

I guess that things are not as bad as they want us to believe. They don’t show us that the world is getting better and most people are good. We just hear about the bad news all the time.

Conclusion

Of course, the news does its fair share of stupid in amplifying our propensity for mass hysteria and mass greed, and so on. But ultimately, it’s up to us to navigate the media environment.

We must screen out irrelevant information and consciously seek out useful information. If it makes us emotionally worked up, it’s probably a sign that we’re being manipulated.

Yes, the news doesn’t show us how bad humans are at being rational or predicting the future, but we haven’t educated ourselves on that Issue.

Yes, they don’t show us how they speak to our worst tendencies to tribalize and be biased, but we didn’t learn to suck up the pain and do what’s right, not what popular.

Yes, they try to leverage our biases to keep us consuming more information, but we didn’t actively seek out different information sources.

“ The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it. “ — Albert Einstein

I appreciate ruthless criticism as this is my first post, and I still have much to learn.

--

--

--

Hi I'm Mawal a Creator living in Germany. Nice to meet you!

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Journalism’s next new normal: time pressure and seeing around the corner

Should there be limits on journalism?

Media Relations DOES Make a Difference

“Show and Tell” criticism of NYT’s ‘Olympic Bodies’

Augmented Reality Magazines: Content that surprises your readers

Shifted to my personal website

People-Powered Investigations: How the Bureau Local is Trying to Spark Change through Collaboration

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Mawal

Mawal

Hi I'm Mawal a Creator living in Germany. Nice to meet you!

More from Medium

What if Jada Pinkett-Smith Had Done Her Own Slapping?

All the Stupid People

Piracy Has Always Been a Service Problem

No! Censorship is NOT Acceptable as Some Theoretical Way of Making the World a “Nicer Place”