2013 Media and Why We “Ducked” the Story
By RU Twisted
This last year has served as further proof that most of what passes for news in this country is nothing but a marketing campaign. It seems quite ludicrous, as we look back, what was considered “big story” material and what was not.
Take for example the recent hubbub over the show Duck Dynasty and the supposedly inflammatory statements made by its star. None of us here at The Rhino Den have written about it yet (despite it being a wildly popular topic), and there is a very solid reason for that.
Namely, that it doesn’t matter.
In fact, the very reason why it doesn’t matter is a much more important story than the story itself. The psychology behind why it was a story should give more than a few of us pause for concern.
Consider what all the fuss is about: a star of the show made a comment—after being prodded to make a controversial statement by a reporter, mind you—that had something to do with homosexuality. This comment was then spread like wildfire through the interwebs until A&E, the company which owns the rights to and produces the show, stated that the star would be put on some sort of suspension.
People on all sides of the debate subsequently lost their collective minds.
My question resulting from this is: why?
Let me be frank and state that a star of a reality show—or a reality show itself—has as much relevance in my life as the guy on the street corner shouting about the end of the world (probably less relevance, to be honest; the doomsday preacher could be right…?). Not an ounce of my being is in any way compelled to change my worldview based on what is said by some millionaire businessman who has his own television series.
But here’s the reality of the situation: no one else’s opinions are changed, either. I would be willing to wager a substantial amount of money and say that not a single individual had an epiphany about their opinion on the topic of homosexuality after either the star or the parent company made statements. If anything, they just shouted their already-held opinions louder.
Similarly, we had a number of quotes from that stellar source of journalistic integrity called Piers Morgan that were directed in opposition to those who support the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Pro-gun journalists proceeded to slobber all over themselves in trying to respond to what the CNN host said, never understanding that they were part of the ruse.
The scam being, of course, that CNN—just like A&E in the kerfuffle with Duck Dynasty—is laughing all the way to the bank. While pundits do cartwheels and drool over non-stories, these networks cart truckloads of cash to the bank from advertising revenue drawn due to controversy that they manufactured.
Think about that for just a moment.
As bloggers, talking heads, and arm chair quarterbacks raise their blood pressure to shout down some fool on television, the people who own the whole show are lighting expensive cigars with $100 bills because, hey, they can—their revenue stream is through the roof from people who think these idiots matter.
News flash: they don’t.
I could write extensively about why some British snob journalist and a duck hunter don’t hold any relevance in my life, but there is a factor far more important than what I believe and am influenced by. Namely, that they don’t hold any sway over anyone else, either.
For example, do you think that any legislator at any level—state or federal—ever changed their vote on a gun law based on what Piers Morgan said? After working in the field of Second Amendment politics for a couple years, I can assure you they did not. Media talking heads are not voices of change—they simply exist to bolster what is already believed.
The same can be said for the Duck Dynasty nonsense. Again, does anyone truly believe that someone had a change of heart regarding their views on that particular subject based on what the star of the show said, or on the response from the network? I think not, and you would be hard-pressed to come up with evidence suggesting otherwise.
Keep also in mind, in the case of A&E and their supposed “suspension” of this guy, if you don’t think that was all planned in order to garner more viewers for their most successful show, then you are the rube.
Media is designed to sell. Without that, it doesn’t exist. Sometimes the product is a material thing like a car company’s latest offering or a certain beer; others it is to peddle the media itself, such as the case with the modern 24-hour news sources. Theirs is a goal of selling you on the notion that they are where you should be getting your information from and tuning into. Whether they do that through staunch agreement or vehement difference, they have succeeded.
2013 was a year that provided several examples of this very thing. As Duck Dynasty became the most discussed “news” story on Facebook….ever, Congress was voting on a bill that would cut the retirement benefits of our Nation’s warfighters as welfare remained untouched. That story was largely ignored because, hey, who wants to hear about Veterans when we can shout about a manufactured battle between gays and Christians, right?
Personally, I don’t like writing about either one of these stories. I chose to do so, however, to simply say this: ask yourself some hard questions about what you are taking in to your brain on a regular basis. Ask yourself why they matter. If you are upset about what Piers Morgan or Sean Hannity or any number of other TV Boobs says, why? Those crafting the laws that deeply affect your life don’t care—why should you?
This was a year that added to the heaping mountain of evidence proving that the modern media exists for one reason and one reason only—to sell you, the consumer, something that relates to profit for a group or entity that cares not one little bit about how you feel. Their only concern is that you pay money for whatever it is they are hawking and do so often.
Let’s make 2014 a year that allows reality television and worthless talking heads less intrusion into our thought processes.