Spiralling into a crescendo of crap

News is important to many of us. Therefore media must be important to us, because they provide us with most of our news.

But there seems to be a growing amount of trivia and opinion and unjustified sensation – I don’t know if this is by proportion or just because we have access to many more news sources. Probably both.

Damian Grant writes about Using a playmate to separate the signal from the noise.

This refers to the headlines of a ‘playmate’ naked on Mt Taranaki on a day that the Commerce Commission turned down the proposed merger of two major media companies.

I’m not a fan of the Commerce Commission. I’d like to drag it to the top of a mountain and leave it shivering naked in the cold, but the impending collapse of our news media raises a serious question; does news matter?

I’m not sure that our new media will collapse, but it is certainly going through significant change.

Statisticians have a term; the Signal to Noise Ratio. This refers to the amount of useless data that obscures the signal they are trying to see.

Reading the paper is an exercise in filtering stories about naked girls on a mountain from actual news that will have an effect on your life.

I don’t think it’s quite that simple. There is a growing lack of differentiation between news and entertainment. They even call what would have been current affairs programmes shows now. The show must go on.

Currently the media is spilling billions of pixels and a small lake of ink on speculation about the upcoming election. Are you better informed as a result of reading this speculation, or would your time be better spent walking the dog and waiting for the final result?

I think most people have very good political filters. That’s why media tries to portray boring administration of the country as sensational scandals. Probably with little success most of the time.

Worse than the noise, much of what we read is actively misleading. A car crash story creates the impression that car crashes are a regular occurrence, stories about a housing crisis can easily mislead readers to thinking that there is a housing crisis.

Media and opposition MPs frequently cry wolf about crises.  A major problem with this is that the occasional genuine issues of real concern are easily ignored as same old crap.

The object of the news media isn’t to provide news, it is to entertain and, on occasion, create its own news and controversy by, as an example, deliberately using a mountain’s colonial name in order to generate outrage.

But they end up promoting their own generated ‘outrage’ as further news, or at least other media does to create their own stories.

It was unusual this week to see genuine outrage by some media over how Newshub presented their story on the leaked Pike River video footage. This was an exception.

There’s an old media saying “if it bleeds it leads”.

Obviously there is no news in reporting that thousands of people travelled by car without incident or accident. Crashes and crime are news.

But how news is presented, or over-presented, creates an unbalanced perception of how bad things are overall. And it seems to be snowballing as media tries to make more noise to attract attention.

And there seems to be growing problems of use of ‘fake news’.

Perhaps they should be trying to improve their signal, but the don’t seem to get that message.

Signs are they are spiralling into a crescendo of crap.

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  1. One of a kind

     /  May 7, 2017

    Most of it is crap – I will spend maybe 1 minute looking at Stuff or NZ Herald.

    But occasionally when they do a good story based on old fashioned journalism I will read the story right through.

    An example this morning was the interview of the ‘Beast of Blenheim’

    Over the years I have heard about this creep 3rd hand through vague news references so to read a story of a first hand account of him was interesting.

    His background, events that broke him/made him the evil man he is/hear his justification/denials of what he did.

    That is true journalism – and I commend the journalist who ever it was that wrote this story.

  2. Ray

     /  May 7, 2017

    Journalists are running around like headless chickens at the moment mostly because they are in the midst of huge changes thanks to the broadening of the way things get reported and who gets to report it.
    I heard a union rep. say this morning that Google et al should be taxed and the money then used to prop up the traditional model, he probably also longs for the return of buggy whip makers!
    One of the things they regret is journalists used to be the gatekeepers, they knew all but only let us know what they and their controllers (the Union, the Boss) felt we should know.
    That has all gone.
    We live in interesting times.

  3. PDB

     /  May 7, 2017

    Funny how the demise of the far-left and the MSM in the world runs hand-in-hand…………..

  4. Do not for a moment believe that the Far Left is losing its influence. Look at the USA and the leadership of the Democratic Party and reflect on how many of them have strong ties to Leninist and Marxists. Some have been card carrying members of the Communist Party. The last two Presidents from the Democrats (Clinton and Obama) were both subject to early influence from the Communists/Socialists.

    • Blazer

       /  May 7, 2017

      you are playing that tune on the worlds smallest …tinfoil…violin..Col.

  5. Plenty of examples of media capture by the Right & Far Right … by ownership, buy-off, force-of-advertising-revenue, graft or force …

    The Left (which you mistakenly call Far Left) are only regrouping … and the MSM are merely changing ‘Streams’ …

    Rather than Right or Left, simple supply and demand is responsible for the crescendo of crap … which probably hasn’t reached its crescendo yet by a long chalk …

    Crap sells!

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