Switch to any news channel and you will see countless headlines that depict the world as falling apart. That’s because newsrooms have crafted content to keep us both enraged and engaged. Interestingly, I didn’t fully understand this until I quit television.
Vox recently published a telling piece on CNN’s tactics to score ratings. In the explainer, Carlos Maza and Coleman Lowndes indicate that CNN hires persons for panel discussions to upset viewers. In fact, they state that the network knowingly features uninformed supports of President Donald Trump for the purpose of debate.
I have also noticed such tactics at local media outlets in Trinidad and Tobago. Indeed, with little focus on reporting stories and informing the population, the focus has shifted to riling anger. Similarly, it’s evident in the outrage clickbait we see online as bloggers and journalists compete by intentionally upsetting their visitors.
Unfortunately, a break from the tension eludes us. For instance, talk shows have become more about shade and reading than uplifting viewers. Furthermore, heated opinions on shows like The View have replaced thoughtful conversation.
Why I quite television
I once relied on television as an escape from the stress of my environment while living in Trinidad and Tobago as well as New York. Moreover, it was my main source of entertainment, and my first true connection to pop culture. Yet, that has changed.
To distance myself from the outrage that has become current media practice, I quit television. Since doing so, I’ve been more at ease and less pressured to follow “hot topics” or weigh in via live tweeting. Instead, I have cultivated a greater connection to self as I ponder why I need to escape my reality in the first place.
Watch this week’s episode of Trini Trent TV as I discuss these points in detail and explain how we can break our dependence on what I call reaction television.
“And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!” And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.” – Iain Thomas