Episode 39: NEWS FLASH: Does this really even matter?

NEWS FLASH: In this episode of Bonded Voices, Greg, Loren, and Ian discuss the impact of constant news bombardment on our lives. They question whether the sensationalism in the media is necessary and how it affects viewers’ perceptions. They talk about the rush to report news, leading to incomplete or exaggerated stories. The hosts also touch on the blurred line between entertainment and news, emphasizing the importance of fact-checking and responsible reporting. They share personal experiences of disconnecting from mainstream news and finding more value in local news sources. The episode ends with a challenge for listeners to share their strategies for dealing with news consumption on the Bonded Voices website. Listen on Rumble



Welcome back to Bonded Voices.

Ooh, news flash. Does it really even matter?

I don’t mean to be sarcastic about this, but as we sit and sip on our coffee, what we’re going to talk about is the constant bombardment of news and does it really impact us, and does it need to? I’m Greg, I’m Ian, This is Lauren.

So this topic we can all relate to. There are times when someone comes into our office or a friend texts us, or something saying, “Did you hear about so and so? This happened on the other side of the earth?” And then we think, “Oh my gosh, that’s a tragedy.” And it never seems to stop. There’s always sensationalism. So what do we really need to pay attention to? What really impacts us? You know, they don’t just do it with news stories. Remember, they do it with election coverage as well. Every election’s the most important election of our time. There’s salt on democracy, this or that, and the other. And at the end of the day, I think ever since I’ve been in the United States, every election has been the most important election of our time.

So it’s your fault. Yeah. Ever since you’ve been here. Because I think before that it wasn’t. Yeah.

Well, so since the advent of the hour news cycle, there’s been this constant need to be in the news with something. Otherwise, they’re losing viewers. They’ve gotta do something to keep the eyeballs on the screen. And so they will exaggerate some things and completely fabricate others and make mountains out of a molehill just so you keep the users and the viewers on their channel and not going to go to the fridge to grab a soft drink during the boring parts.

No, you Are a hundred percent right. That’s been a huge part of it. Um, ’cause they have to keep people understanding. We’re not, we grew up, you had one-hour news at five o’clock at night.

Right. Well, and think about this, like, they’re so worried about getting people to watch, they’ll rush stories that are incomplete.

Yeah. And you know, I, I always go back to the Atlanta bombing, the Olympic bombing, and how Richard Jewel was the subject of everyone’s ridicule. And he was the guilty person, the media, everyone said he was guilty. And then it turns out, oh, it wasn’t him after all. He was a hero, but the retraction was so small you didn’t even know about it.

Right. And there’s case after case that the news has jumped onto somebody just so they could be out there and have the sensational headline.

Well, the retracting of the news doesn’t sell advertising.

No, it doesn’t bring viewers. I’m not sure many of the media anymore actually pride themselves on truth and real. It’s always, we’re the cutting edge. We’re the first station on the scene. We’re the first one to report. We’re bringing you this exclusive, making up a story if you have to. And I think part of making up the story is they understand that they can make a million dollars by publishing the wrong story and settle for , Sure. With people they’ve maybe defamed or liable or slandered. Hey, they’re , ahead of the game.

So is there a delineation between entertainment and news?

Well, so with the advent of the modern-day newscaster, which is more of an editorial, oh segment, absolutely. It’s no longer news. It’s no longer fact. And maybe it’s just that we, you know, romanticize what we thought news was when we were younger and we didn’t really realize they were doing the same thing back then. But the term yellow journalism’s been around forever. So, you know, maybe we just think that the Walter Cronkites of the world back in the fifties and sixties and seventies were telling the truth and not sensationalized and everything. Do you think they just knew less though back then? Just that that information was coming from fewer sources and they probably were more put their trust in those fewer sources than now being able to cross-reference it from multiple different parties?

Well, I think when you have a, there’s less of a, there’s fewer sources. So back then you did trust everyone because there was one newscaster that you trusted. Now there’s everyone’s rushing because there’s a million news outlets or citizen journalists out there that are putting out information. So who knows what’s real. But we’ve gotta jump on the story and Yeah. And run with it. Yeah. Because I think you can find, whenever you try and research, especially on the web, a story, you can find a million different people given an account of it. And you think there’s no way that many people were involved in it or around it or know it intimately enough. And if you look up even, you know, killer of, just to understand, you know, who was involved with some murder that’s on the news, you’ll get five different names. Yeah. At least. So they, you, whoever’s first, you know, that’s what they’re trying to do is be the first one on there, not caring if they’re accurate.

So, so the topic here right, is, you know, does it even matter? And I think that’s in there, there in the podcast purposefully because people get caught up in this, they get emotional about it, they get bent out of shape and scared. And how do we get them to a point where they understand that, you know, or filter what matters and what really doesn’t matter. You want to have everyone involved in the matters of a nation, right? So you want them to, to think that everything matters, but there has to be some type of, you know, metering of that. So while it is important that there’s a, a crash on the other side of the country, and it may impact us very little over here, we want to be cognizant of that, that it happened and care for those people. But we don’t want to be going, oh my gosh, I’ve gotta change my driving habits because of a pile-up in the fog in the Midwest.

I have noticed recently, specific to the cargo ship that hit the bridge, Baltimore, yep, that there were, over the next few days, there were topics discussed in the news on what will the impact be for different parts of the country. And I thought that was very progressive within the media, rather than focusing on, okay, here’s another camera view from a different angle. And these are the radio transcripts from some boat a mile away that was listening on shortwave radio. It actually started to talk about how does this impact us? And that’s not often what’s discussed in the flash news media of, Hey, it looks like this happened over here, but it should not be an impact if you’re in this part of the country. And, and that’s because it became a supply chain issue, um, with that particular harbor being shut down. But when you think about the coverage of that story, initially there was everything from its terrorism to, it was purposely done to the boat just lost all power and was drifting a million different, again, a million different stories until they realized, oh, it was just foggy that morning.

So is it the job of the media then to, to filter what they’re reporting?

I think it’s the media’s job to report the news. It’s up to us to filter it, right. As adults, we should be able to say, that’s not real. But it’s a tricky slope there because we are inundated with information that is real. There are real events happening, and then we’re inundated with information that is fabricated. So at what point do you stop, you know, a couple hundred years ago, it was, this is a witch hunt and it was one little lady that was upset with another little lady and accused her of witchcraft. And we’ve seen things like that now in today’s world where, you know, someone says, “Oh, that person is a murderer,” without any proof. But because it was on Facebook or Twitter, it must be true.

And there’s no, I think it’s a little, it’s a little different because back then, if you were caught lying, you would be ostracized from the community. Now, if you’re caught lying, it’s just swept under the rug because it doesn’t make for good news anymore.

But the damage is done, though, right?

Correct. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s the dangerous part of it. So I think it’s up to us, the consumers, to filter that news, but it’s, you know, the idea that we should be trusting all these sources. But we don’t. And that’s why it’s a $100 billion business because they want the eyeballs and we can’t trust them. But the news media’s job is to report the news, not to fabricate it. And I think when we get lost in that, in between the fabricated and the real is when we’re going down a very dangerous slope.

And I think the challenge then is also the news has become a business. It’s not just about informing people anymore. It’s about ratings, it’s about ad revenue, it’s about clicks online. So that business aspect has really distorted what news used to be, which was supposed to be this noble profession of informing the public.

Right. And if you look back and you see some of the statistics, more and more people, especially the younger generation, they’re not going to traditional news sources. They’re getting their news from, you know, social media, which could be 100% fabricated or 100% factual. And so, you know, when we grew up, it was the newscast at five and 11 o’clock. You were there to hear the newscaster’s view and the truth. And now it’s, it’s an hour of opinion.

Right. And now it’s not even a newscaster. It’s just a person with a social media account.

Right. And if you look back, at least when, before this, when you watched the news, it was, “Here’s the events of the day,” and now it’s, “Here’s how you should feel about the events of the day.” And that’s the difference.

And I think that’s a very key point because the agenda setting has shifted. It used to be, here’s what happened. Now it’s, here’s what happened and here’s what you should think about it. And that is a fundamental shift in the way news is presented.

So what’s the way forward then? How do we navigate this landscape of news that’s become so intertwined with entertainment and business and still find the truth in there somewhere?

Well, I think the truth is always there, but you’ve got to, again, you’ve got to filter it. You’ve got to be able to take a step back and look at both sides of the story. Don’t take anything as fact unless you can corroborate it with at least three other sources, because that’s how they do in journalism school. But who cares about journalism school anymore? You just need an iPhone and you’re a journalist. So it’s up to us, the consumer, to not take everything at face value.

And we have to be vigilant about that because it’s easy to fall into the trap of sensationalism, of clickbait headlines, of getting emotional about something without really critically analyzing it.

Well, and I think this is the time for the true newscasters to stand up, for the true journalism majors that went to school to report the news, not to, you know, be the first one with a headline. It’s time for them to rise up and say, you know, this is enough. We need to get back to what the news was, what the news is supposed to be.

And the responsibility also falls on us as consumers to demand that from our news sources, to demand integrity, to demand truth, to demand unbiased reporting. And if we don’t demand it, then they’ll keep feeding us whatever gets the clicks, whatever gets the views.

And that’s it for this week’s episode of Bonded Voices. We hope you enjoyed our discussion. Tune in next time for more insightful conversations.