Feb 2, 2024

Forget the Media – We Need an Economic Model for Hope

Hate sells.  Man, it sells. And, division sells, too.  Just watch any newscast from any of the major media networks.  The lead stories are always focused on hate, division and difference.  The network may – just may – throw in a hopeful human interest story at the end of a broadcast, but that might be the end of it.

Sure, the major media networks may respond by saying that they are just reflecting the realities of the world.  And, I would agree – we live in dark and dangerous times. Of course, that would also be my argument for the inclusion of more hope into their stories.

But, we know the truth.

Here’s is the fact:  hate and division sell.  There is a lot of money to be made by producing and distributing content that is harmful, angry, and divisive.  Americans – in particular – eat it up.  Not so much in other parts of the world.  But, Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry” got it right in the 80’s. He knew what he was talking about even 40 years ago.

Echo chambers are the norm today.  Americans are living in echo chambers, following only the news, people and social media feeds that reflect their views.  They only watch television that reinforces their viewpoints.  And, that is exactly the opposite of a good, balanced education.  It is also why we can’t have dialogue with others anymore.  We have been conditioned — by major media and social media — to only watch and consume content that reinforces our own views.

Major networks follow what I am calling the “echo chamber, hate-filled” model of content development and distribution.  This model produces three outcomes:

  1. It makes a lot of people rich,
  2. It appeals only to those with audiences that share an affinity with the content produced;
  3. It polarizes society as a result.

We need an economic model for the the distribution of hope.  We need that model to create and distribute hope content that will dominate the headlines. And, we need it soon.

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