There is a growing trend of skepticism on the internet right now as people start to call out mainstream media for its honesty (or rather, lack thereof). It’s an important move for people in general, as there are good reasons to question the talking heads that are gifted with such a reach and influence, via a brand whose survival is based upon getting and keeping your attention. To give someone, or some brand, the authority to tell you what is true, is one of the greatest mistakes a human being can make. Here’s why.
Yes, of course, I know I’m about to tell you how to think in this article, being written on a brand you recognize, that survives on getting and keeping your attention. But at least I’m honest about that. I’m not going to attempt to prove that I know everything about every newsroom on the planet. I can only tell you about some of the common things that I have seen, in the newsrooms I have been in.
I worked in television news for 10 years from 2004 to 2015, working for primarily the finance channel of Canada, Business News Network, and since 2011, the now-deceased Sun News Network, which was an attempt at a conservative slanted broadcast in the Canadian market. It was called the ‘Fox News North’ by many critics, and rightfully so, to some degree. Through this career, and especially at Sun News Network, I was privy to many off-camera conversations which really helped me see through the illusory idea that, just because you’re on TV, you know what you’re talking about. In fact, I grew terrified to keep producing it for that reason.
Here’s the first thing that many people don’t truly understand about the news media. It is biased to those that fund it. There were many times when we were forced to cut an advertisement or cut a story or remove something from the website because an advertiser didn’t want to be associated with it and, as a result, our financial livelihoods were threatened. TV is literally at the mercy of those that fund it because it’s a business. TV, as it is, has no other way to survive except for advertising revenue, which depends on getting and keeping your attention. In effect, news media is a marketing tool for advertisers, and its content is sometimes designed to match the next best product coming out of these advertisers.