Why Do You Keep on Listening to These People?



Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

How often do you scream at your TV while watching a movie? You idiot! Don’t do that. Why are you doing that?

You know the ones. The teenage girl tells her friend to investigate the crash they just heard in the creepy basement. With a broom. The cop tells his partner to go check out the bank robbers hideout while he goes for coffee. It’s like the shows are all using the same writers. Somebody is always giving somebody else lousy advice, yet they still follow their advice.

But wait a minute. Don’t we do the same thing?

We spend a disproportionate part of our days listening to people give us bad advice. Or flat out lie to us.

And we keep listening to these people.

You probably know where I’m heading with this, but let’s start with a softball; a slow pitch. Something easy. Somebody everybody picks on.
Weather forecaster, meteorologists, whatever they want to call themselves. They lie to us every day, and every day we tune in or check out the app to listen to another lie. Ten-day forecast? You can’t even tell me if it’s raining or not right now. The app says it’s partly cloudy, and it’s pouring down rain. But guess what?

You clicked on it. And you’ll click on it again tomorrow.

It’s not always a lie, but it’s almost always useless. How often is the forecast for tomorrow something other than 0% chance of rain or a 100% chance of rain? Most of the time, right? Do you not realize what that means?

It means that most of the time, the forecast for tomorrow is, it might rain and it might not.

And we just paid them to tell us that. And we’ll do it again tomorrow.

Why do we keep doing that? Is it because we want people to tell us what we already know? Is it just that we need to put our faith in someone, so we cling to anyone that sounds like they know what they are talking about?

It must be that, otherwise, why would we ever listen to a politician.

About anything.

It doesn’t matter what party you are in or what political affiliation you follow. If they are running for office, their only job is to get that job. And they will say anything to get there. And once elected, their only job is to get reelected.

Their only job.

But we keep listening to them.

And over the last twenty years or so, their job has gotten a lot easier. All either party has to do is tell their followers that they are right and the other side is wrong. About everything. And since both sides own almost half the votes, all they have to do is convince a few swing votes to come over to their team.

Actually, it’s always been that way. Votes in almost every election are reasonably close to fifty-fifty. But with social media, it has become much more manageable. They just need to get their followers to rally around them and carry their message. We are doing their work for us. And here’s a little factoid I have discovered over the last few election cycles.

Almost everyone reading this right now, thinks I am talking about the other side.

But isn’t it just remotely possible that if everything the other side says is a lie just to get reelected, that there is a slim chance your party is doing the exact same thing?

Which brings us around to social media. Friends we don’t know tell us things we shouldn’t believe. We follow random strangers as they go leaping off the nearest cliff. We like the most ridiculous, illogical, banal crap, just because someone typed it next to the picture of a celebrity or historical person.

They never said that.

You aren’t listening to Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, or Abraham Lincoln.

You are listening to some guy living in his parent’s basement.

Why do we keep listening to these people?

Instead, we should turn on the news and listen to a respected journalist.

Wait; what? I thought Walter Cronkite was dead.

What’s a respected journalist? The one that tells us what we want to hear.

The other guys are all liars.

But isn’t it just remotely possible, that if everything the other network says is a lie just to get ratings, that there is a slim chance your network is doing the exact same thing?

The truth is that we made it easier for them. News shows and networks have always been about ratings. But there was a time when ratings were based on who got to the story first, not who came down on one side or the other. Journalists didn’t pick sides; they just told us what happened.

They gave us the facts and let us decide who was right.

Now, if you listen carefully, none of them even pretend to present facts. Every story is a quote. According to so and so, this is what happened. And it doesn’t even have to be a famous person or an expert. If they can find some random person on the street that delivers a message in line with their agenda, that’s what goes on air.

And if they can’t find an expert or a random person? Listen to how often a ‘fact’ is preceded by, “according to some,” or “many experts agree.”

How did they get to this point?

We did it.

I’m not sure when the shift happened, but we empowered it. Those ratings I spoke of have always been important. It determines how much they can charge for advertising toothpaste. But there was a time when 25–30% were good ratings. If they could grab those numbers, everyone was happy.

Then one day, one of the networks, I don’t know which one, discovered an important fact. It was probably just after a primary election when they saw that each side got very close to 50% of the votes. They didn’t need to present unbiased facts and hope for 30% of the audience. All they had to do was pick a side, either side and pander to them. This got them a guaranteed 50% of the audience. Guaranteed.

And here’s that little factoid again.

Almost everyone reading this right now, thinks I am talking about the other side.

This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.

Comments / 1

Published by

I'm just an old guy trying to fund his retirement. Thanks for reading.

Alpharetta, GA

More from DarrylBrooks

Comments / 0