Monday, 12 September 2016

Media Storms & rushing to conclusions

The title to this post could have read rushing to deductions, assumptions or inferences.

Consider an issue of local or global concern that consistently populates the headlines, or a news story break that creates a social media storm. Narrative/s take hold and everyone incl. bloggers, citizen journos on Facebook or Twitter alike are commenting on, and reporting in accordance with the prevailing theory of the moment, deductions are drawn consistent with the narrative, alas groupthink follows.
“The commentariat fell into a bubble and were reflecting what each other thought”
Said Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten, after nearly wrestling government from the Liberal Party in the recent election, he went on,
"A narrative caught hold and everyone started reporting it."
A politics example demonstrating how in this case, the prevailing consensus or narrative amongst political journalists shouted of a convincing win for the incumbents, as it turned out they only won by a whisker.

As Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Dom Cobb asks in the film Inception,
"What is the most resilient parasite? “A bacteria, a virus, an intestinal worm?"
None, it is an idea!

Narratives take hold and everyone follows suit and once this happens the prevailing theories are difficult to stamp out.

In relation to its basis and, likely motivations, citizen or guerrilla journos in particular, ought contemplate next time a major news story breaks. Think Orlando shootings or Nice terror attack, indeed it should also be contemplated in relation to any number of social issues e.g. Climate Change, Abortion, Birth Control, Capital Punishment, Equal Pay, Euthanasia, Gun Rights, Racism and Same Sex Marriage to name a few.

A more intelligent response would involve seeking information from a variety of news sources and employing rational reasoned thinking that balances all the known and unknown to arrive at a fluid response until all is known which mostly occurs sometime after the event. I would refer to this as sharp-witted critical thinking!

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