Monday, April 9, 2018

I Don't Care!

In a world where the EPA is being gutted like a trout, innocent Syrian; men, women, and CHILDREN; are being gassed, our kids are being gunned down in their schools, and 13 million children in the United States live in "food insecure" homes, there are many truly legitimate things to care about. Yet, we find ourselves being constantly inundated with trivia trying to pass itself off as important news.

Subject: Stormy Daniels | Date: 01/12/2009 | Photographer: Gary | This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

First of all, I don't care, even a little bit, who our president has sex with. Boil it down, and we have a story about a rich man having sex with a pornstar. Ooo, that's never happened before.  It's just not news.

OK, the guy in me is a bit envious.  Who would want to take a turn with a pornstar?  It's a fantastic story to tell friends over a beer, that's as far as my interest goes.

I didn't care when Bill Clinton did "it" when he was IN office. I certainly don't care what Trump did a few years BEFORE he even RAN for office.  It has nothing to do with the job of running, or not running, the country.

I also don't care that Facebook gives our data to advertisers. To listen to the news, one would think everybody's bank information has been hacked. That's not what's happening.

Facebook records what we post and sells that data to advertisers. As a result, we see ads for products we're interested in. So, I see ads for detective novels and comic book t-shirts, and somebody else sees ads for aerobic videos and Jane Fonda movies.

This is not a new concept. Every time the cashier scans grocery card, the grocery store records everything you buy and uses that information to do advertising in your geographic area.  It's the way advertising works in the 21st century.  Facebook didn't invent the concept, they just found a way to make billions of dollars doing what other companies already do.

 It's not an evil plot. Yet the news keeps harping on it as if they have uncovered a vast criminal conspiracy.

OK, pro-Trump Russians used the data to target users with deceptive pro-Trump ads.  Yet, I find it hard to blame Facebook for not censoring content, while arguing to protect net neutrality so my online experience won't be censored.

The news, when reported well, can educate a population into an informed electorate. Yet, they spend a bizarre amount of time reporting trivia. Stories about pornstars boinking are sexy. Stories about our data being hacked sound critical. Yet, when you peel away the glitz it's clear neither story is worthy of being on the news. Can we please save the news for stories that actually matter, and put the sexy sensational tripe in the Enquirer and the Globe.

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