Opinion Article by Rob Comeau

Stop Watching the News, Stop Living on Social Media

Why would I write an opinion piece advocating the elimination or reduction on the intake of news, media, and social media? Ask yourself this. How do these organizations get paid? The answer, Advertising. Now, ask yourself this. What is the key to driving advertising dollars? The answer, Viewership. Finally, ask yourself this. How does the news, media, and social media attract viewers? The answer, creating passion.

Why Does Media Try to Create Passion?

Media needs a hook to pull in viewership. Creating or tapping into passion is the bait that media utilizes to keep viewership loyal in order to create predictable revenue streams through advertising dollars. There are many passions that can be tapped in people. Three primary passions are love, fear, and anger. Creating a passion for love is difficult for media. However, creating fear and anger in others is not. Fear and anger mongering for the sake of advertising dollars is pushing division and anxiety into our society. Never have we seen more agendas pushed, more division sown, more fear created, than in today’s media environment.

The day’s of Walter Cronkite’s famous sign off of “that’s the way it was” are over. Now, it has been replaced by “that’s the way we want you to see it.” If media can stir discord into your soul, convince you of what you should be mad about or scared about, they will keep you hooked. This allows these organizations to prove steady viewership in order to drive advertising dollars. You have been used as a product to drive someone else’s bottom-line. Your mental health is second to a profitable quarter in their minds. Stop being a pawn in someone else’s agenda. You have the power, take it back.

Increased Speed of Nonsense

There have always been bad things in this world. The difference between today and yesteryear is the speed and scale from which these things are reported and pushed out to the public. No longer is reporting about getting the story right. It’s now about getting the story first. Then, this information or misinformation is pumped out on all media vehicles for the world to consume. People have been trained that they need to be up to speed, by the moment, on every development in the world. Then these reported developments are clouded with biases to elicit a response in your mind and hearts that will keep you glued looking for updates. As you remain impassioned, enraged, outraged, overly curious, etc., the media companies are cashing in on you. People then take to social media to push their feelings out on topics that were reported in a way to elicit a response from you, and social division accentuates, and mental health deteriorates. All the while, media is making money on your misery and discord.

Unplug and Experience Life Around You

Ask yourself this. What has binge watching the news or being addicted to social media truly contributed to your life? Are you happier? Are you more fulfilled? Does it bring more joy or love into your life? Be honest. If you are happier, more fulfilled, and have greater love and joy in your life from the news and social media, keep at it. If not, unplug. Experience the life that is right in front of you, not on a screen. I haven’t watched the news in over 10 years. I read what is of interest to me. I haven’t been on social media in over 6 years, with the exception of LinkedIn for business, and I still connect with those I love. I’ve cut this out of my life as I have refused to be used in a way that is harmful to me, in order for a media corporation to use me and profit off me. I’m still here, and I’m not under informed. I write this to encourage you to truly reflect on the impact that the news and social media has on your life, not only for your mental well-being, but also for the amount of time wasted viewing someone’s agenda, which has been created to keep you coming back at all costs, in order to drive advertising dollars.

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Rob Comeau