Look, they need to get your attention to get readers so they can get money. It’s that simple-and that’s not going to change. The best way to get your attention is to yell, “Fire!” We naturally respond to threats to our health and safety, right? So we tune in and become outraged by exaggerated BS.
When I was married to a news photographer, he covered a Klan rally in a New England city. Here comes the Klan with a few curious onlookers on the sidewalk. A busload of self-proclaimed communists arrived and started heckling the white sheets. Then they started throwing bricks at them. A brick hit my husband and he got a bruise. The few onlookers grew more bored and dispersed; the worst possible outcome for the Klan. It was a big fizzle.
So what did the headlines proclaim?
VIOLENCE ERUPTS AT KLAN RALLY
The only ‘violence’ was my husband getting hit accidentally with a brick. Is a big, fat exaggeration a lie? You tell me. The Klan got press coverage, the communists got press coverage…and regular people got scared and outraged. I was there; I’m telling you it was a big fizzle. I’ve seen more violence erupt on school playgrounds over a kid cheating at kickball.
When revolution was supposedly happening in Syria, we saw photos of smoke rising above buildings.
On the other side of the building was pile of tires of tires burning. The “revolutionary” explained that anything burning got press attention and tires were handy. Big fizzle- blown way out of proportion by the media. They have to do that or you’d get bored and wouldn’t watch it.
Supposedly more riots are now going on in Portland. The police in Portland said there was a peaceful protest followed by a couple dozen thugs coming out after dark to raise hell. Broken windows make good photos; tear gas smoke, arrests…are you scared yet?
The press is going to continue shouting histrionic BS. The fake riot will be blamed alternately on the right or left, depending on your news source. I’m not saying there are no such thing as riots, I’m saying the danger is exaggerated to get your attention. Is it working?