Why you shouldn't read newspapers

By CATTLEPROD on 12:05 AM

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Traditional media is dead. To me at least. We are currently witnessing the death throes of this bastion of information dissemination. It isn't a quiet revolution, like the 1994 South African democratic elections (not without its own long violent struggle), but more reminiscent of the violent regime-churning Russian uprisings. It's the "Night of the Long Knives" for traditional media and the Internet is wielding the dagger. Some traditional media behemoths foretold this revolution and managed to uncharacteristically adapt in time. Still, they entered a dark ocean filled with new media sharks and are now, for the first time, experiencing unprecedented competition. Most traditional media companies are suffering under the arrogance of their erstwhile monopoly. They are not going quietly in to that good night, but are rather employing last ditch dirty tactics to keep a tenuous grasp on their readership/viewership.

The Death of Traditional Media -
*Mashable - Stats: Old Media’s Decline, New Media’s Ascent
*Clay Ant - Piet Alberts - How The Internet Affects Traditional Media <<-- Excellent blog post (by a South African company no less)

Dirty Tactics - Why you shouldn't read newspapers

i) SENSATIONALISM
Try picking up a newspaper or watching a news broadcast today and not getting some emotional heartstring tugged, or some polarised issue blown totally out of proportion. These days news only sells if it illicits some form of disgusting reaction from the ignorant masses. It's all kneejerk bollocks. It's the car crash scenario. Post bloody pictures of violence accompanied by utterly biased firebrand editorial and people flock to read/watch the news. No longer the bastion of objective journalism, traditional media is now totally subjective with no regard for the real facts. In order to compete with the immediacy of the Internet they don't even bother with facts any more. Just get the most biased, factually incorrect editorial out there with lax regard for grammar or spelling anymore. As long as it affects people emotionally by pushing some of their buttons, then they will sell newspapers and ads on their extinct media platforms. Rather than be informed, readers are now frightened and confused. (Excellent article explaining all of this)"Sam Zell, the Chicago real estate tycoon and new owner of the Los Angles Times and Chicago Tribune, recently offered this stark assessment: “The news business is something worse than horrible. If that’s the future, we don’t have much of a future.”

See this Daily Star UK newspaper article if you think I'm being too harsh:
FRONT PAGE
ARTICLE

Utter twaddle. Factually incorrect and designed to illicit the worst kneejerk response in its readers.

ii) PROPAGANDA
Traditional media have always pandered to the will of the ruling party, or it has been literally annexed as a mouthpiece for propaganda. Media don't flock to an ANCYL press conference because they give a shit about what Malema has to say or they think that he has anything "newsworthy" to say. In fact, newsworthy no longer means that the information is important for the people to hear, but it now means it is sensationalist enough for people to hear. We have hour long news discussions with the AWB and the ANCYL. Neither group has ANY power to affect the legislation of this country. Why is the media so intent on pushing their agendas? They only represent a tiny fraction of the South African populace, but their viewpoints are poured out in traditional media as if this is the sentiment of the country. Why? It's simply to keep you glued to your screens so they can push ads in your face and pay their big bonuses, squeeze the last drop of profit out of a dying corporate dinosaur. They WANT to you get angry. They WANT you to feel scared. They WANT you to get your panties twisted. You are being manipulated by the propaganda of BOTH the far right and far left political parties aided and abetted by the selfish agenda of the dying traditional media. They will use whatever dirty tactics necessary to hold on for as long as possible and you... we will be the victims. As Arthur Miller once said "A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself". Of course, that does ring true, but perhaps in the heydays of the newspaper. The days when a snotty-nosed kid would stand on a corner and shout "Read all about it". The problem is the operative word in Miller's statement: "A GOOD newspaper I suppose, is a nation talking to itself". There are no good newspapers left in print.

Don't read/watch traditional media.

So here's a sober warning. Don't read traditional media. Unless you have some masochistic urge to have your emotions toyed with and to get utterly useless information that certainly doesn't reflect a nation talking to itself. You're worried about Malema, you say? He has all this support and he's going to kill all the boers. How about using your brain for once? If I could corrupt Miller's statement a little: "Web 2.0, is the world talking to itself". Web 3.0 (arguably the semantic web or the web of trust) even offers you tools to gauge sentiment. Free tools. Simple tools. Easily accessible tools. Look at how Twitter has influenced the spread of REAL information. The Iran elections, Burma, tsunamis, earthquakes etc etc. It all gets on Twitter first and you can, using your own intellect, garner what's REALLY happening and how people REALLY feel. Twitter has even been suggested for a Nobel Peace Prize and the Internet itself has been confirmed to be in the running, which technically means that all of you reading this could be winning a Nobel Peace Prize.

Still don't believe me? That Web 3.0 is the web of trust, the semantic web? Try using sentiment engines like Twitfeel to search things like Malema, Kim Jong Il, Mugabe. Try whatever you want, but at least it will give you just a very, very basic example of how the world really thinks. You see? Rationality prevails on the Internet. (Caveat: Rationality of course does not extend to the hordes of simpletons that comment on news story sites or Malema fan pages, and especially YouTube videos, but these people are NOT the majority)

So, I urge ALL of you to join me in boycotting traditional media. Cut it out of your life. Don't watch TV news, don't spend another cent on those rain-forest decimating newspapers. Move online. Permanently. New media doesn't have the same bloodlust. It is not fighting to maintain profit margins and for journalists (I use that term lightly) to keep their jobs.

Traditional media is dead. Long live new media.

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