‘De wereld is niets veranderd. We zien alleen meer slecht nieuws dan ooit tevoren.’

TV-presentator Mike Rowe over de police shootings in de VS van de afgelopen dagen, en het opgejaagde / bedreigde gevoel wat daardoor bij veel Amerikanen leeft:

Overnight it seems, the smartphone has transformed America into a country of 300 million roving reporters, all looking to break, (or star,) in the next Big Story. And now, Facebook and Periscope are letting us broadcast that story live. The implications are enormous.

Because now, if you possess a smartphone and a Facebook account – you’re more than a reporter – you’re a network. A network with no filter and no censor. A network with no accountability. A network that can go live from anywhere, at any time.

The world is not in the midst of some imminent or unavoidable decline, and neither is our country. The species is no more flawed than we were 500 years ago, and the world no more wicked. It just feels that way, because today, we get to see more bad news than ever before. We get to see it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We get to see it live, in our newsfeed, and in our homes. We get to see it in vivid high-definition. And now, unlike any time prior, we get to see it as entertainment.

Listen to the ominous soundtrack that accompanies the next terror attack on Fox. Look at the size of the font, and the lurid backgrounds that announce the next disaster on MSNBC, or the next missing plane on CNN. Listen to the urgency of the announcer as he heralds the latest calamity, and consider the expression on the anchor’s face, as she warns you in somber tones to “stay right where you are,” because “we’ll be right back,” with “more breaking news you can’t afford to miss.”

It’s not just the world, or all the trouble in it. And it’s not just the news, or our ability to cover so much more of it. It’s our conscious decision to present it like some never-ending promo for Game of Thrones. That’s why you’re anxious. Because the media has discovered that keeping you informed, is not nearly as profitable as keeping you on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Wijze man, die man.

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