The media won’t get less politicized. News consumers must get smarter. | Keith Whittington

The media won’t get less politicized. News consumers must get smarter. | Keith Whittington

Traditional media outlets remain extraordinarily
important to how we communicate and develop ideas. They’ve not been completely displaced by Facebook
and Twitter and the like. In lots of ways, the internet is parasitic
on traditional media sources because it’s those traditional news outlets that are doing
the hard reporting, for example, that generates the facts that other people are responding
to. They still generate a lot of the sustained
and sophisticated development of opinion and development of viewpoints that others wind
up responding to elsewhere. So we have not yet reached a point where I
think the traditional media is irrelevant to our public conversation, but they’re certainly
challenged in new ways. And in part they’re challenged because there
is new competition, that there are other people and other mechanisms for communicating to
a mass audience than what we’ve traditionally relied on with newspapers and with broadcast
media or cable news and the like. But they’re also challenged by the way information
is conveyed in a modern environment. People consume the news differently than they
once did. So for example, even if they’re consuming
news that was generated by a newspaper, they may not be reading it in a newspaper; it’s
coming packaged very differently. They may be coming across it through a Facebook
feed, for example, where the thing they’re most immediately encountering is not the news
article in the context of lots of other news articles as they turn the page, they’re scanning
down the entire page. Instead, what they’re encountering is a headline. And the headline either makes them turn away
or draws them into the article. In many cases, the headline is all they know
about the article because they never actually click through and read the more detailed discussion
in the news article itself, for example. But instead, all they know is the headline. And as a consequence, I think, traditional
media has been struggling to figure out how to convey the crucial parts of the information
they need to convey in the headline itself. They want the headline to be enticing so it
will draw people into the larger story, but they also have to very careful that the headline
is not misleading, so the headline really does convey the core point of the underlying
information so that the people who, in fact, walk away with nothing more than the headline
are not getting a misimpression about what’s being conveyed underneath. That has attracted a lot of attention lately
in terms of thinking about misleading headlines and misleading statements. For example, if a public figure or a government
official says something that’s not true, it’s traditionally the case the media will often
include that information directly in a headline itself, knowing that the reader will then
dive into the article and the article will lay out the context for it. It might explain what’s mistaken about the
claim. Why the claim was being made, et cetera. But if all you’re seeing is the headline itself,
and if that headline itself conveys the misleading information and nothing else, a lot of people
then will only be exposed to misleading information, will never be exposed to a larger context. And so I think it’s a difficult challenge,
but one I think the traditional media is starting to figure out, that you need to be able to
convey in the headline itself what’s being asserted by those public figures, but also,
some sense about what the truth is. We’re seeing what looks like an increasingly
more partisan media in which the kind of expectations that we had for traditional media of purely
objective journalism had its heyday in the mid-20th century. It’s now increasingly being replaced by media
that has an opinion, has an edge, has a direction that they’re pointing that affects what stories
they choose to tell and what stories they deemphasize. It affects what headlines they write. It affects how those stories are written themselves. And often, it means that analysis is being
integrated into the pure reportage. So we might not see the same kind of pure
examples of ‘Let me just tell you the facts’ that we might have expected to see in the
newspaper in the mid-20th century. But instead, we’re seeing some mix of ‘Here,
let me tell you some facts you didn’t know, but also let me analyze those facts for you’
so that we’re integrating reporting with analysis in the news. This was much closer to the dominant media
model through much of the 19th century, for example, where the press was primarily a partisan
press; there were Democratic newspapers and Republican newspapers, and when you picked
up those newspapers, you expected them to have an opinion, you expected them to mix
reporting and opinions. You expected the whole newspaper to be pointed
in a certain direction. And I think we’re increasingly encountering
that kind of media environment again, and it will require some adjustment on the part
of consumers to recognize what it is they’re seeing, to recognize that is a much more partisan
press, a press that is mixing fact and opinion. I think it’s going to be foolish for us to
expect that we’re going to return to the glory days of the 1950s and 1960s and expect the
press to behave radically differently. Instead, I expect we will see more and more
of those tendencies in the press. And it’s our responsibility then as citizens
and consumers to learn how to navigate that media environment, to recognize the press
for what it is, to recognize that we’re getting slants, we’re getting opinions, we’re getting
people’s perspectives on the news. And as a consequence, we ought to be more
aggressive and take more responsibility on ourselves to read those pieces critically. But also to look out for a wide range of information. If we’re not going to spend as much time reading
a single newspaper, for example, and just turning the page and reading a newspaper in
a single package or being exposed to a single nightly news broadcast. Instead, we’re picking and choosing what media
we’re going to see. We’re seeing it through social media. We’re seeing it through other kinds of mechanisms,
we’re seeing individual articles rather than entire newspapers, then it becomes particularly
easy to be looking for a range of sources, a range of information. But it also becomes particularly our responsibility
to go out and look for that, to make sure that we’re seeing all sides of an issue. We’re seeing competing perspectives so that
we can see the different kinds of arguments and ideas that are out there, and we’re going
to be better informed as a consequence and better capable of making up our own minds
about what we think is true and what’s not true and what we ought to do about it.


51 thoughts on “The media won’t get less politicized. News consumers must get smarter. | Keith Whittington”

  • "Journalism" is a scam and has always been. It's only in the internet age of widely available peer-to-peer communication that we've been able to bypass the narrative spinners and propagandists and get information directly from each other. Traditional Media is worse than useless and needs to go away.

  • Brains Applied - Unraveling The Human Mind says:

    Well… Definitely true and definitely won't happen…
    Lets hope I'm too pessimistic

  • Makes some sense but a bad way to explain, it seems uninteresting due to the way he’s explaining even though it’s not uninteresting

  • Sparky Runner says:

    With the billions invested now in the news media we are going to be victimised by the media to do as they quietly cram down our little minds every day what they want us to see and react too!!!

  • When your journalism takes breaks every 10 minutes to run 2 minutes of advertisements for Exxon oil, Pfizer medicine, Kraft foods, giant telecomms, and defense companies; how can you really call its content independent?

    Everyone likes to shout about how "the media is liberal" or "the media is conservative". The truth is, the media tells you exactly who controls it, five times an hour, every hour. Corporations. And if people aren't drawn to the content, the corporations don't get to promote their products.

  • The same people who control the media, also control education policies. And they are teaching your children to not be critical thinkers.

  • Optimus Phoenix Prime says:

    Its trying to understand the physics and quantum 🕵️‍♀️
    So we design abundance within any given environment
    Understand limits
    Understand change
    We are a cosmic and subcosmic organtic technological species in a space time continuum called the block universe
    Now go learn 👌👽 fuckers

  • What media needs to learn is why users aren't clicking through. Popups, audible ads, and maybe just not wanting to drive traffic to a news source the reader doesn't like.

  • Good luck having news consumers get smarter. The politicized media fulfills a demand. People's narcissism too often won't let them evaluate sources in a sober manner.

    Parasitic media happens in old outlets too. Fox News segments are almost always their own spin on another source.

  • I don’t believe there ever was this. All journalistic integrity. I think one-sided just became so dominant that they proclaimed that their viewpoint was the truth and they were being objective.

  • Michael Anthony says:

    The mainstream media are the ones who do the investigative Journalism?

    This guy is a fucking idiot.

    Not only do the independent media do the real journalism now, private Youtube channels get more viewers than CNN primetime. The dinosaur media is well on the way out.

    Speaking of the MSM getting fewer viewers:


  • eriknephron gfr says:

    It’s not misleading headlines or clickbait…it’s us. The newsboys shouting on the street corner were the original clickbait. The consumer either read the story or didn’t.

  • Anthony Consalvo says:

    Swap headlines for relevant hyperlinks in popular articles.I notice that editors seem to be biased toward many obsolete practices, including headlines. But if you cross that hurdle, you get a lot closer to solving the problems laid out in this video.

  • Diogo V. Kersting says:

    There's just so many distortions of the truth you can present before you lose all credibility.

    If news keep crying wolf all the time, when a real wolf appears no one is going to believe it.

    The truly smart newsreader is the one that first understand the agenda of the journalist, and then reads the news.

  • The sooner you realise every part of your daily life is affected in some way by politics, you'll realise that everyone is entitled to a political opinion.

  • The age bracket for mainstream news networks is 50+. Expecting these people to change their habits is a lost cause. Younger audiences are way more flexible in their preferences.

  • "traditional news outlets doing the hard reporting" and alternative internet news is "parasitic"??? you've got it backwards you fool. and the 'alternative' internet news outlets are being heavily censored for speaking the truth which mainstream news will not report because they are pro war, pro government, propaganda mouth pieces.

  • This video is almost like a Rorschach test. Some people think he's referring to CNN, MSNBC, NYT, WAPO, et al., and others think he must "obviously" be referring to Fox News. The correct answer is all of the above, but all in all, Fox News is actually the least egregious offender these days. Anyone with a shred of intellectual integrity would know that if they actually watched all of these news sources objectively. You want the fullest picture of an issue? Then I recommend you watch/read both sides of the mainstream news media so the highly selective coverage does not skew or limit your perspective.

    Under a Republican presidency, liberal news outlets tend to focus on the negative and downplay or ignore the positive, while conservative news outlets tend to focus on the positive and downplay or ignore the negative. Those roles become reversed under a Democrat presidency. That's just how it is these days. Typically, the network that applies the principle of charity the most is behaving with the most journalistic integrity. Under Obama, Fox News was probably the least charitable and least trustworthy. But under Trump, it's the opposite. As difficult as it may be to stomach, try to watch BOTH as much as you can. You'll be more informed that way, because they each respond to the propaganda from the other side, causing all or most of the garbage to fall away, and that typically leaves you with a much more nuanced, comprehensive view of the issues. But hey, if you're a close-minded, hyperpartisan hack who's concluded that his preferred "side" already has all the answers, then by all means, seclude back into your little echo chamber bubble and disregard this post — you're a lost cause.

  • Traditional media outlets are doing far less investigative journalism than ever. It's expensive to perform actual journalism, but far more profitable to generate click bate headlines and hot takes.

    Some 'new media' sources actually do provide on the ground reporting and investigative journalism. They suffer from the same difficulties

  • Skully Anderthal says:

    America's media have been deceiving while conditioning it's viewers.Simply put a society must reflect while asking itself,"Who rules over you"? To find out who then ask,"Who are you not allowed to criticize"?

  • tinyfingerdildos says:

    it's worth noting that part of the reason news is so partisan is capitalist incentives towards spectacle. in-depth and long form news is not as profitable.

    oh yeah, and big think has koch funding.

  • The problem is that many (perhaps, most) people do not care to see all sides of an issue, they look only for those articles or video clips that confirm their existing beliefs.

  • Actually reading books (old or new) helps a lot .. inside of this dull iconised vector-graphic info-capsule – which is mostly unable to explain why and how people behave in given societies and circumstances …

  • Chocolate ChipCookied says:

    Can anyone recommend how to learn the most information from a range of sources about a particular issue at a rapid pace? Not having to spend the whole day investigating something.

  • Just Having Fun says:

    New news providers pop up in my online feed all the time. Who are they? It's difficult to find out who owns some online news sources, whether they produce content, or are simply aggregators. Just give me the facts. If I want opinion, I want it labeled as suchm

  • Journalism has always been very dishonest. The difference is that nowadays people can fact-check news in 10 mins. However, majority of people lack the necessary skills for filtering and finding good sources.

  • TheCortexReaver says:

    The problem is really not in the opinions or partisanship. The normal opinionated reporting is to say: "X is 7 and that is not enough for the workers" or "X is 7 and that is too much for the workers" or something along these lines. That's a normal partisan press we always had. The problem arises when one side starts reporting that "X is whatever I need to say today to make a point about the marxist jewish uprising to replace all whites". I leave it up to you to guess if I was talking about progressive or conservative media.

  • It seems as if the traditional media doesn't bother to ask questions anymore.
    Journalists no longer ask pertinent questions and seem to rely on talking points fed to them by one political party or the other. The relationship between the democtrat party and outlets like CNN and MSNBC especially is obvious simply by the phrases used to discuss a particular subject. They will parrot each other almost word for word.
    Most of the media has become propaganda for the democrat party much like Pravda was the official propaganda wing of the Soviet Union and the outlets in Germany in the late 1930's covered for the Nazis.

  • Pamela Jensen says:

    Yeah idea that humans have the capacity to be unbiased is unrealistic. It is not in our nature to do otherwise.

  • IrelandVonVicious says:

    I find this channel to be no different than the politicized media.
    Opinion being spoken as fact over and over.

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