Does The Media look for rifts and bad news? You bet it does.

Reading through the always interesting Help A Reporter Out and I bumped into the following query from an online journalist:

Summary: Gen Y’s Opinion of Elders after Disaster
“How does Gen Y see the Boomers and X-ers in the wake of unprecedented screw ups (the economic meltdown, climate change etc.)? And how is this emerging generation poised to wrest control of our culture and rewrite badly warped rules?”

The subject of the query isn’t too bad, but the agenda, the axe to grind, is made apparent in the query wording itself. What’s “unprecedented” about what’s going on? Is the new generation going to have to “wrest control” (which certainly sounds like a violent and aggressive act) and are “the rules” “badly warped”?
Understand that I’m not saying that we aren’t in a troubling place in human history, but pick a previous era, dozens or hundreds of years ago, and there were also lots to be concerned about. Most people just didn’t have the luxury of a) knowing about it and b) having time to contemplate it.
What bugs me about the query is that there’s such a big assumption that things are indeed broken, and terribly so, and that it’s going to take an act of physical or psychological violence to “wrest control” of the situation by the next generation. I just don’t believe that’s true and it will be no surprise at all to me if the resultant interviews and story don’t reinforce this clearly biased and skewed perspective.
The old saw about “dog bites man isn’t news, but man bites dog certainly is news” is all too true. In the same vein “as with every previous generation, the next generation will have challenges and will be cleaning up some of the mess of previous generations. How do you feel about that?” is much less newsworthy than “next generation screwed by excess and idiocy of current generation. are we all doomed?”
And you wonder why news = bad news.

2 comments on “Does The Media look for rifts and bad news? You bet it does.

  1. Dave,
    Saw and recorded your panels at BlogWorld Expo 2008.
    Bad news, yeah it ‘sells’ unfortunately. Something weird about human curiosity and bad news.
    I’m blogging and trying to make an on-line living.
    Enjoy your tweets and blog posts,
    Respectfully,
    Nicholas Chase – ‘the video guy’ at BlogWorld Expo

  2. You make a good point. Obama’s recent hires of a bunch of old geezers reflects the fact that getting things turned around is going to take everyone, not just some designated group. Not just old or young. Especially since there are so many old geezers out there. Whatever article is written probably won’t help. Gotta doubt the credibility, sensibility, and intellect of the writer.

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