I have a better idea of what is behind my observation that curated, edited “news,” what is called punditry, not only doesn’t solve anything, it creates discord.
The “news cycle” runs on and on. It is a machine that society uses in order to “stay informed.” We have, many in the society, gone into agreement that this is the way to find things out. As it has become more sophisticated in terms of speed, not only in delivering data but in editing, it has become more and more powerful.
People choose their video content based not only on the content and attitude but on the speed at which it’s delivered.
Speed alone determines power. (Bruce Lee among others have said something to this effect.)
The problem is the curation, the editing. That technology plays entirely upon emotion. The voice, the pundit, the expert gives you “attitude.” This tells you how to feel. That precedes one’s ability to examine. When one feels about something one is usually no longer looking at it, examining it, questioning it.
I see this as a very insidious disease. Individuals have become more and more automatic in their acceptance of data as long as it makes them feel a certain way. They stop looking.
I stopped watching all curated editorial news nearly 18 months ago and not because I didn’t like the way it made me feel. On the contrary, I stopped because I realized it was controlling me, making me “feel good” because I agreed with the emotion and analyzed the content based on that emotion. The emotion made it a Done. A no longer examined thing.
I offer a test in two steps. Often, when a story is posted from any of the major outlets regardless of political leanings, you can intake it in two ways.
One is to watch the video, the other is to skip over that and read the text of the story. It often appears right below where the video is in the post.
The video contains a person or persons, often has intro music, titles, supporting images, etc. It also has this attitude. It has all the things that that person has meant to you, good or bad, it has other clever things all designed and intended to create an emotional reaction. A reaction.
Much of that is not apparent in the written version. Sometimes, none of that is apparent.
Step Two is to imagine the “other side” layering their attitude on to the text alone. Imagine how they would present the same data, in edited form, what images they would choose, what music they would select, how the attitude of the speaker can turn the same words into, often, an opposite story.
The written word can also be used in very nefarious ways, but it does not have the power that music and images and tone of voice have. One can, often, retain the ability to keep looking even in the face of very striking data that can be frightening or cause other emotions.
This editing is almost amazingly fast now, has extraordinary speed and can produce curated opinions based on some real news almost in real time.
Relying on anything that is obviously attempting to influence your emotions over your Reason is very dangerous and a hamster wheel we would do well to step aside from. It is down to the level of listening to harmful gossip.
It is manipulation through machinery. It is something we created that is now on automatic and is, in the perception of many, moving faster than we are, so we see it as very powerful.
We created it, and it’s something we can uncreate.
Peter Kjenaas is an author, screenwriter, theater director, producer, chef, AirBnB host, parent and caregiver extraordinaire. And now he adds travel writer to his resumé as he sets off across the country in a 1971 VW camper bus. But first and foremost he is a caring and productive human who has graciously allowed us to post some of his writings to this site. See his latest book at PeterKjenaas.com, and his travel adventures at Riders on the Storm Bus.