I watched the news about the hurricane approaching. They had me scared. During the storm I went for a walk. People were out in shorts, T-shirts, and flip-flops. They were walking their dogs, no problem.
I’m sure the storm was worse in some places. I just logged on and haven’t had the chance to read much news and I hear there was a lot of damage.
But I know the news I saw and read before the storm and I know what I saw in the storm and they oversensationalized what hit Manhattan.
I’m not naive. I know they have to err on the side of safety. I know their coverage had to cover other areas than just where I live. I know tons of people are without power. I can take these things into account.
And taking them into account, this storm was another instance reminding me that, however much they tell you they want to tell you news, they want viewers and readers so they can keep you watching. Nobody will tune in to hear the wind and rain will be above average but not that bad. And then they couldn’t sell ads. They report drama and invoke emotions like fear and outrage.
You know this. I know this. Just sometimes you get reminded more strongly.
At least with a natural disaster the role of the media isn’t as caustic as with conflict, especially wars and political races. If you buy into the world the media presents, you believe you’re keeping abreast of important developments. If you look more skeptically, you see how they promote conflict, magnifying differences.