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Opinion

The Mainstream Media’s Culpability in American Incivility

In America, all are created equal.  In the media, division and anger are the keys to hitting your bottom line.

America is harshly divided today, with neighbors and fellow countrymen being forced into accepting fear and anger as the sole political motivators of our nation.

And it’s no secret why, or who’s to blame, but nobody seems to want to talk about it freely, so here goes:

It’s the mainstream media’s fault.  There.  I said it.

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The reason is simple, also.  We’ve corporatized our “news” through television, and turned what should have been a public service into an infotainment industry full of clowns, cliffhangers, and cleavage.  We are drawn to the “news” these days not for our daily imbibing on the state of society, but, instead to feel some emotion about it.  We don’t every turn on the television for any other reason, do we?  We watch comedies to laugh, and we watch horror movies to feel scared, and we watch television shows like This Is Us in order to dabble in the darker, more depressive emotions of our being in concert with others.  That way, we work through these heavy thoughts together.

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All of what is encapsulated under the umbrella of “entertainment” is only effective if we feel something when watching it.  And thanks to the fact that television, (and the internet), are now corporately funded through advertisers, there is competition for your emotions.  In order to stay ahead of the curve, all forms of entertainment become competitively hellbent on making you feel the most.

Do you cry at viral videos of soldiers surprising their loved ones returning home?  Do you avoid certain types of scary movies because they hit a certain nerve?  Do you watch certain news programs to feel a certain way about the other side of the political spectrum?

We’re all being played by the media.  They pluck our heart strings to play the song most appealing to the corporations who advertise during the commercial breaks, not the tune that we deserve.  And what happens when this goes on for decade after decade?  We divide our nation into angry fragments, hellbent on destroying the other side.

Anger sells, and the media knows it.

Now, the real world consequences of this media irresponsibility have come home to roost in America.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar, two high-profile freshmen Democrats who engender intense emotions on the right, each spoke out Wednesday about how efforts to vilify them have made them a target of death threats.

Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who has become Republicans’ preferred foil, responded on Twitter to a fundraising email solicitation from the Ohio Federation of College Republicans with the subject line: “AOC is a domestic terrorist.”

Dave Levinthal, the federal politics editor at the Center for Public Integrity, shared it on Twitter and noted that the term was “often reserved for the likes of Timothy McVeigh and people who kill children in their school classrooms.”

“This puts me in danger every time,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote, retweeting Levinthal. “Almost every time this uncalled for rhetoric gets blasted by conserv. grps, we get a spike in death threats to refer to Capitol Police. Multiple ppl have been arrested trying to harm me, Ilhan, & others. @GOP, what’s it going to take to stop?”

This is not an American form of expression, this is the media’s creation.

In America, all are created equal.  In the media, division and anger are the keys to hitting your bottom line.

 

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