Love’s Labour’s Lost

red heart with cracks throughout it

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!

5 thoughts on “Love’s Labour’s Lost”

  1. Cavan Kelly

    Forgive me for showing my bias here but the irony of Bell’s Let’s Talk Day is that many of the people in need of such help were probably driven crazy by having to deal with Bell Canada. I know that the five months of absolute hell they put us through was enough that my blood pressure physically rose just at the thought of having to talk to them again.

    1. And it’s no easier when you’re calling from within the company. I don’t know if they’re just too big, have too much staff turnover, or what the issue is but I hear the same about Rogers, too. Maybe that’s why they increased our mental health benefits coverage this year.

  2. I’m glad that Donny didn’t marry me after all; it would have hurt our friendship (yours and mine). I’m sorry to see that this garbage has found its way to you. Time was (as you know) a crank had to spend money on a stamp and take time to write a letter (even if they didn’t sign it – which most often they did not). Now any one with an opinion feels the right to share it; anyone who’s offended feels they are in the right because it is how they feel! There used to be layers of protection to keep you from the, shall we say, less constructive feedback – a caring boss (if you were lucky enough as I eventually was), a mail room, a corporate email or text. But when you are expected to read/respond as part of your job – as in defend yourself – it’s too much. People fire off their opinions like shotguns and then tell you if you’re wounded that you need thicker skin. You didn’t get into this business to be Morton Downey Jr. or Rush Limbaugh or (god help us all) Alex Jones. You’re a presenter of facts and information to the very best of your human abilities. And it doesn’t matter what you say or how you say it; some people will hear you through their filters and decide before you’ve even taken the next breath. I feel for you and for your mental health. This has to stop. But how and when?

  3. I miss the days of stamps and letters. Keepsakes they were. On the other hand i am consistently surprised by the depths some people will plumb……and i’m in politics and the non profit world!

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