The election of Donald Trump surprised everyone, probably even Donald Trump, if his behavior the last month has been any indication. If you don’t know what I am talking about, then you probably have been in the hole of what I am talking about. When journalism isn’t thorough we all fail.
We all fail because we don’t get complex coverage that explains what is happening through background information and references. That means that people hear that something bad is happening but they don’t understand why. They think terrorist attacks are only because of “hatred”, while partially true, the more complicated story is that terrorists are often people with a lack of education and have been targeted by people recruting for some extreme cause or another. Hate groups, the world over act this way, the only way to combat it: financial resources and education for everyone. This is as true for the KKK in poverty stricken Alabama as it is for poor mountanous villages in Afghanistan.
Yet our news rarely talks about this deeply complex connection. Or rather that every event and news story is connected to many other things in the world. We can kill ourselves trying to untangle the web, but we also must find a balance in providing enough context for everyone to understand.
This morning I read an article on the fall then rise then fall then rise of Twinkie, those sugary creamy addicting snack cakes that is made by Hostess. Not only was the article an angering read on how investors move money from one system to another to make big bucks while leaving employees out in the cold, but it had one line that explains so much of what has happened in this nation as of recent. It explains why people, usually Democrats, were so put off by everything that they voted for Trump, in a final gamble to try and get their lives back:
‘“People understand jobs going to China,” said Michael Hillard, an economics professor at the University of Southern Maine. “But no one has ever heard of these private equity firms that come in and do all this financial engineering. It is much more complicated and less visible.”’
The woold is pulled over eyes to divert what is actually happening. It’s easy to blame government initiatives that allow for global trade, and feel that it’s ruining someone’s life, it’s another to understand that many of these problems come from financial manipulation by bosses and big financial players. People like Donald Trump.
And here is where journalism has failed. We weren’t thorough enough about what is happening with jobs and politics and government so that everyone can understand what is happening to their jobs and automation. The easy story is showing what Trump said about China, and giving a spokesman- now head of the country- free publicity to spout a false-reality.
Of course, it’s not all on the hands of the journalist. Journalists who can’t make a living at their work anymore, and who are constantly under pressure to make click-bait and increase ad views. They’re encouraged to do so much and such a variety to get more hits, than they are driven by thorough story-telling and accuracy. Television news is the same- how can we get people to watch?
Consumers are to blame for a constant need of easy to digest fluffy news, that goes down like marshmallow but slowly rots the teeth and gives the consumer diabetes. I’m to blame as someone that is in media, I want cat videos and simple narratives, it’s not always comfortable to face long stories with complex informaiton.
Yet we have to.
We really have to. Because without thorough information we are in a whole lot of trouble when it comes to keeping all forces, not just Donald Trump, accountable for their actions and work. It’s not click-bait to make sure that human rights are preserved and people have a chance to live a decent life, but it’s really important.