What sources do you follow for your news and information? CNN? NY Times? Washington Post? Independent? Well, if you answered yes to any of these, or you thought of similar news outlets, then you’re getting all of your information from the biased lame-stream media. They’re only feeding the masses lies! Only Fox will give you the alternative media and edgy take on the world that real people want!
That hurt to type. No, Fox won’t give you ‘edgy’ or ‘alternative’ news. In fact, Fox fits into what people have deemed lame-stream media.
Mainstream? More like Lame-stream!
What exactly is the “lame-stream” media? Usually, it’s a deprecatory term to refer to news organizations that report on the hypocrisy and negligence of the far-right (see also: Liberal Media). Basically, anything that is not Fox News. But, when we break it down further, it is clear that even Fox News falls into this category.
The lame-stream media refers to the mainstream media (MSM); MSM refers to various large news conglomerates—newspapers and broadcast media—that reflect and shape the prevailing thoughts of a society. Because there are fewer individuals and organizations who control the MSM, there are fears of similar viewpoints that could get to news consumers; these fears are rightly founded considering six companies control 90% of the United States media alone.
Because the mainstream media belongs to large corporations, their focus is on making money and retaining their audience. This results in them catering to the popular opinion and interest of a large group of people. They cherry pick the news that will appeal to their audience, and they warp facts to fit their narrative. This is why we see clickbait, fluff pieces, and misleading pieces that don’t report on the full story.
So, to summarize, the lame-stream media appeals to a large group of people and presents them with what they want to see while following the message associated with their parent company. Although people on the far-right would want you to believe that only left-leaning media is lamestream, both sides fall into the lamestream.
Like always, this all comes down to money.
When newspapers began to move online, advertisers were able to see just how many people were actually seeing and interacting with their ads thanks to Google Analytics. It became clear that just because 4,000 people received a newspaper they put an ad into, it doesn’t mean 4,000 people are going to see that ad. Newspapers and magazines saw ad sales dropping as the advertisers found new ways to advertise online. On top of this, newspapers lost classified sales to sites like Craigslist. Furthermore, the internet made it possible for people to find news from places they never had access to before; the papers lost their monopoly on specific areas. They needed to adapt, and they needed to adapt fast.
And this is why we see them appealing to sides. In order to make money, they needed people to come to their website rather than a competitor’s. How do you do this? You make your pieces far more interesting and more reflective of what your intended audience is looking for. You give them titles that will make people click, and you write stories that confirm a person’s views rather than give them facts which they can process for themselves. Oh, and you generate quick, short pieces that appeal to emotion rather than logic.
It’s Time for Alternative Media
I’m not talking about alternative facts or fake news.
The internet has provided everyone with the tools to have their voices heard; you no longer need to be linked to a major broadcaster or newspaper in order to reach people. Alternative media dissents from the popular opinions and ideas of a society. Unlike MSM, alternative media is not influenced by government or corporate interests. Usually, it’s just ordinary people who want to have their voice represented in the media. Think media that focuses on small niche — often marginalized — communities like the LGBTQ or the indigenous. Like the mainstream, they appeal to a specific group of people. However, their goal is usually not to make money, but to bring attention to and connect with their community.
Of course, the upside to alternative media is also the downside; anyone can participate. This is how we get fake news sites and sites without any regulations on how/what information is presented. People can take these sources at their word because they confirm their own niche ideas; it doesn’t matter what other sources with legitimate facts say on the matter. Although alternative media is free from corporate and government bias, the sources are still biased.
Alternative Media: Filtering Out the Truth
Mainstream and alternative media both have their pros and cons, and both will be around for the perceivable future. In the end, we can’t take everything at face value. It is up to us to be aware of the media we are consuming and how we are consuming it. Don’t trap yourself in a filter bubble where you take in media that only confirms your opinion. Critically think about what you are reading/viewing rather than letting your emotions drive you. I love being right — we all do — but only when I am actually right.
In the end, it is better for everyone to have real knowledge about the world rather than following people that always tell you, you’re right.