On Media's Undying Love for Sensationalism

May. 25, 2022


There’s quite possibly nothing which evokes such a reaction out of media, like this rather harmless-looking set of letters. Why? Well, its history is, apparently, according to far greater minds, deceptively deep and intricate; and as such, for those who seek a thorough dive into its deep-lore, I would like to instead direct readers towards other sources. Examples of unbiased and trustworthy sources of information about the “movement,” includes Wikipedia, Vox, Vogue, Kotaku, and getting familiar with Resetera.

Now, with the preamble out of the way, let’s dive into the post/ranting/whatever…

Many of so-called news media outlets of today have long since devolved into being little more than sensationalist publications, scarcely giving any care for what they put out, so long as it has the potential to make them cash. Of course, that’s no exactly post-worthy by itself. No, it certainly isn’t. What’s actually interesting – tragic, in a way – is the way said media brings about its articles and reportage.

The way media have perfected the art of clickbaiting is by carefully learning how one of our unquestionably most powerful emotion works: anger. They know humans have a tendency for outrage, and they knowingly poke where they very much know stings the most; carefully, as to not get themselves hurt – that is, sued – in the process of doing so. Outrage spreads like wildfire, and they crave the attention it generates – negative or otherwise – as it all furthers their core invested interests: money. Humans are quite simple creatures in the end.

Then in 2014, Gamergate [sic] happened, [which] dramatically changed the White power movement.
– Elle Reeve, CNN

Once it feels like it has exhausted its topics for the week, media brings out its favorite undying cow into the lamplight once more: #GamerGate. Though its udders have long since shriveled up and dried, they continue (to try) milking it for its last vestiges of content it may produce. All for the sake of “spicing” up its otherwise stale and repetitious cycle of drivel it has made itself known for producing – the poison which continues to inflame debate.

There has been more than a few occasions where self-professed journalists and their ilk have voiced their frustrations, on why the public does not listen to them as religiously as in the past – and why, indeed, when they should be the sole arbiters of truth. Well, for one, the same people have managed to utterly destroy their down reputation as trustworthy sources by publishing the trite they do. These people – these various journalist and “opinion piece” writers that infects true journalism like parasites – are useless, but still vaguely literate hacks and nothing more. They’ve managed to learn how to read and write, how to structure prose and put the art of writing to use, only to use it in one of the most vile and disgusting ways possible.

The reality of it all is, the sole reason why the “GamerGate movement” – the rotting, decaying corpse of it – hasn’t died off is because all the various rag publications and the media at large refuses to let it. The fact is that it’s too great of a source of made up realities and journalistic fan-fiction; not to mention it no doubt makes wonders for SEO.

An overwhelming majority of sites on the internet relys on ads to make its revenue, and in an already saturated sea of content, comes a bloody struggle to the death for those precious clicks. News publications on the internet are trying harder than ever to compete with “alternative” sources like YouTube, Twitter, etc. They implement soft-limits to how many articles you can read when using ad-blockers – which, by the way, you can get around by simply clearing your cookies; e-begging for you to pay for overpriced subscriptions; and much, much more. However, it is quite evident that they are failing, hard, at winning over new readers.

The failures to capture new sources of income fast enough – read: grow their audience – causes an avalanche effect, further increasing their willingness to skirt the line of clickbait headlines; and to “overlook” more and more details and facts in the process of publication. Media is stuck in a death spiral. A slow, but nonetheless an inevitable and painful spiral towards their own demise…

…At least, that’s what one may hope. Though, knowing the average person, this likely won’t be happening. Not anytime soon at least.