How often is media allowing the fair share of relevant news over pushing a trending narrative? The generalized notion of the function of journalism is to inform. That being said, it is meant to provide the readers with news that affects them and the world.
The average person consumes media 369 minutes a day, that is over six hours daily. From news outlets, social media to radio and video, that covers over a half of their day glued to a information source that feeds the individual viewer. The remaining time covers sleep, eating, hygiene and school/work. Humans by nature question everything, but with influences pushed by a biased media outlet, it assists in shaping the viewer's opinions and their outlook on everything.
The lack of broader information is concerning. The term "blinders" comes to mind when I look at what is being missed due to the lack of notable content published in mainstream media.
When a major media outlet publishes their content, they do it with the intent to capture their owners agenda (CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc.) or to gain a higher revenue from subscribers (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.). The bias begins to dilute what should be written versus the narrative that is crafted for a purpose from the media owner.
This is where the media bias foregoes journalistic integrity in search of a larger revenue from viewers and ads pushing products for their corporate sponsors (i.e. the latest cellphone, we'll get to that later). The lack of real news or things that most of us should be concerned with is dismissed and the viewer continues their lives with blinders on without even knowing the world's real problems.
After reading the human rights issue from Amesty International on forced slave labor to retrieve cobalt for our smartphones that a majority of the world use on a daily basis, I realized how often money is the root of all decisions from media articles to the what the value of human life means to corporations.
It isn't until a catastrophic event or one that personally affects the majority, that media decides it is worth noting (COVID-19). Important events in the world we don't see are are being dismissed to continue the herding of viewers to the curated information media deems more profitable. Since I've been writing this, significant events listed below have been almost ignored completely if not for the NGO's that fight for their causes:
- The mass sterilization, torture and confinement of the Uyghurs in Chinese concentration camps is continuing to happen with an estimated nine million Uyghurs unaccounted for. Yet the media does not shed enough light on this tragedy.
- Global slavery is on the rise in developing and third-world countries with more than 40.3 million forced labor slaves. This includes the forced labor slaves used in the Congo and Rwandan Cobalt mines. Cobalt is the modern day "blood diamond" used for making your smartphones, tablets and computers.
- Russia is hosting a military training exercise with China, in Russia's largest military drill ever with 300,000 troops, and 1,000 aircraft to include simulations for nuclear warfare against the United States. With war exercises occurring on a routine basis from nations around the globe, this would appear as a routine training exercise but it is with our two key threats displaying a show of force that leans towards preparatory effort.
With a small snapshot of what is not headlined above, media pushes stories like 50 Cent's endorsement of Donald Trump and Billie Eilish's optical illusion sneakers. These are our top headlines that are diverting attention away from more important topics. How were these today's top two stories for NewsWeek?
The two factors that assist media in turning a blind eye on current global issues are international relations and corporate revenue. Both of which go hand-in-hand.
As individuals, we can criticize a foreign nation's government and their decisions. If criticism came from a trade partner or allied nation, it can result in sanctions, cancellation of trade agreements or worse (the current heated tensions with the US and China). Corporations face similar consequences when criticizing a nation's political stance or the exploitation of its people via slave labor (Rwanda) and can face the loss of access to a country's resources (See: Cobalt) or the cheap labor they receive to help turn a profit on their latest smartphones.
For example, the media company Comcast is part of a conglomerate owned by the Roberts Family. Their corporate list of assets can be affected in a larger scope if a comment by MSNBC (owned by Comcast Media) shed a poor light on phone companies that contributed to the exploitation of slave labor in Rwanda for Cobalt.
Since most of Comcast's media is running on their AT&T service provider's network (owned by Comcast Media) from a cable box or smart phone, Rwanda could prevent their partner corporations such as Samsung or their cable box manufacturer access to their resources or raise the resource's price which result in a loss in net profits.
This also applies to corporations (Apple) working with countries who are currently committing human rights atrocities (China). Mentioning the human rights issues directly against the country where their factories reside could affect their phone manufacturing and distribution within China and abroad. Large companies will shy away from actually denouncing social atrocities if it means the loss of corporate profits.
The final human blinders are presented by social media and its lack of a social conscience. The circle of profit and greed continues by refusing to publicly speak out against the global social injustices mentioned and countless more. Don't get me wrong, there are several social media posts from individuals denouncing atrocities across the globe, but you won't see the head of that Social Media outlet (i.e. Mark Zukerberg) regularly denouncing issues if it means that they will lose revenue or a platform medium to present their preinstalled social media app.