It’s possible that I’m falling out of love with my first love: media. Okay, you got me. My first love was Donny Osmond but that was unrequited so it doesn’t count. Media has mostly loved me back even when I thought I was unlovable. Media has kept me guessing, engaged, interested and energized. And it’s not even media’s fault that my feelings are changing. It’s the fault of its wild child, social media.
People lament the lack of civility on social media. I lament the lack of intelligence. Whatever happened to having some sort of evidence or basis in fact before spouting an opinion? In person, you have to back that opinion up. There’s no such requirement online.
Criticism is part of being in the public eye. In fact, it’s a part of life. No one can be universally loved all the time. Even Oprah has her share of detractors. But unearned cynicism wears one down.
This is a universal truth: One sees the world through their own lens filter. Their own biases and perceptions colour their view. More people need to check themselves for a perceived filter flaw first, before lashing out at others for being “wrong” or “insulting” or “biased”.
Everyone has a bias. Journalists try to present bias-free news but even in saying that, we admit that we have biases to set aside. It’s human. We have beliefs and world views of our own. We’re not robots. But even robots are programmed by humans with biases, so a robot can probably be biased.
Social media give loud and direct voices to people who, frankly, aren’t smart enough or aware enough to consider their own biases first. People who expect every moment of every program to reflect them and who discount context. A hard-right-wing conservative regularly insults me by sending articles on huge, national stories with the title, “in case you miss this”. They’re stories I couldn’t possibly miss. He suggests that I’m suppressing negative Liberal news, which has no basis in fact. He’s being a jerk because of his bias.
News is news. A big story is a big story. We reported on Bell’s massive security breaches even though our radio station is owned by Bell Media. The only thing we have ever been told to do by our corporate overlords at CTV/Bell Media is to mention Bell Let’s Talk Day. It was also strongly suggested that we find time to remind people to watch CTV’s flashy new show, The Launch. Full stop.
About a year ago, a former TV journalist in Florida wrote a wonderful piece about what it’s really like to work in media. Why things sometimes appear the way they do and why we deserve the benefit of the doubt. If you’re interested in a day-in-the-life, please read Christina Nicholson’s article HERE. I don’t expect to live a critic-free work-life but I had hoped it would be less cynical. Silly me!