Sensationalism of Current Events

Before I get into this post I just wanted to warn you that this post may come off a little judgmental. That’s because it is. Yes I occasionally judge people but when I do I believe I have good reason to. With that lets get to the subject at hand.

If you look to the left panel of this blog there are two headings. The first is blogs I read. These aren’t all the blogs I read (that number is at least 10 times that amount) but these are the blogs that I check out daily without the need of  Google reader. The next heading is sites I check for. As you can see one of those is CNN. Yes I check out CNN at least once a day. Mostly in the morning. I like to stay abreast on things that are happening in this country and around the world. With this said after I check CNN I usually peruse different blogs and then I log onto twitter and then occasionally facebook. Twitter is a way of keeping up with current events that are going on. I heard of Michael Jackson’s death through twitter. Who won best rapper of the year? Eff the BET awards. Check twitter. For that, twitter is cool.

Then sometimes I wonder (even outside of social media) if people are conscious of things that matter. By matter I mean issues that don’t have anything to do with sports, entertainment or what’s happening on your block, city or hood. Sure its cool to know that Nicole is pregnant by Will but she’s seeing Dave. At the end of the day in my opinion that shit doesn’t matter.

I see headlines or stories that get sensationalized and talked about for days within my community/school/peer group and I wonder why do you even care. Oh Beyonce has a new video out? Why are we talking about this for 6 days? Do you really give a fuck that much? Then I see headlines that interest me and I take to twitter to discuss and I find I’m having the same discussion with the same people. For instance today I wanted to discuss the importance of New York passing a bill that would legalize same sex marriage. I guess that was a little dry for Saturday conversation. Don’t let me ask my followers how they feel about Drake’s Marvins Room. My @ replies would start moving at the speed of light.

For instance.

I wonder how many people discussed, pondered and critiqued this:

I mean really? At the end of the day did the man really lie? Even if he did, who the fuck cares? He’s a grossly overpaid athlete who will make more money than almost anyone who critiques him can dream of. But at the end of the day the importance of it doesn’t even register on my scale. Now on the other hand how many people were upset about this man making these comments.

Pat Robertson basically is spewing folklore like he’s an authority on Haitian and French history. All the while giving religion in general a bad name.

Do me a favor. Stop reading. Go ask the nearest 5 people do they know what’s going on in Syria right now. Come back to the comments section and tell me how many out that 5 knew. I’ll wait. Now go ask another 5 people how many nominations Nicki Minaj has for the BET Awards. I’ll wait again. Maybe its me but I’d rather watch coverage of the Casey Anthony trial (capital murder trials intrigue me) than the second round of a weak NBA draft.

I got up on another soap box and now I’m stepping down again. Perhaps I’m the only one this bothers but I thought I’d share my thoughts on how our country and mainly our culture sensationalizes a lot of bullshit while putting real issues on the back burner or even worse, they are ignorant to them.


23 thoughts on “Sensationalism of Current Events

  1. Wu Young

    Good post!

    I have a love hate relationship with they way we get our news these days. Even the things the “traditional” news sources show don’t matter. We wasted a weeks worth of brain cells on Anthony Weiner (sp) when it didn’t matter.

    I’ve never figured out why “real” news doesn’t trend. Matters that are important (Or that I think are important.) seldom trend. OBL getting doomed was the last thing that moved my TL. (I did see a few VSS’s like Gemmie talk about gay marriage in NY.) Maybe collectively we just want to be dumb when we get home. I just can’t do it.

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      i like gemmie. she talks about things that matter but then her profile says things like “iGoon”. best of both worlds. yeah so during the day i do a lot of science related things but when i get home i still don’t want to dumb myself down. what’s the point in that?

      1. Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

        I used to get into it with one of my roommates in college because he didn’t understand why I hated award shows. It’s a bunch of currently famous people looking in a cracked mirror getting off on their own reflections. I’ll pass. Thank goodness for Treme and True Blood. (That sh*t Eric pulled at the end was mad rapey too.)

        After I get home and if I manage to stay awake is still try toward bullcrap on the tube. Everybody has something “dumb” they do but I can’t roll like that all of the time.

    2. Veronica

      “I never figured out why ‘real news’ doesn’t trend”…

      Here I go with my $.02 cents..

      First, my theory might be shot completely to shit if my understanding of the ‘trending topics’ isn’t correct…but here goes…

      Trending topics are the topics that are tweeted the most in a certain amount of time right?

      Well, although people of all ages are on twitter, it’s the kids that tweet over and over and over again about the meaningless stuff. Or the celebs tweeting about themselves over and over and over again to have THAT nothingness trendng. I think the average person, who works during the day doesn’t have time to tweet over and over and over again TRYING to get a ‘trending topic’… so ‘real news’ usually doesn’t trend because of that. Not because tweeps don’t know what’s going on, it’s just that (I HOPE) we tend to actually verbally discuss real news in and around work and with friends instead of tweeting it like we would about ‘popular fun stories’….

      **shrugs shoulders** ion’t know though!

      1. Wu Young, Agent of M.E.

        I would like to think thay you are correct Veronica but l would like to see more #Syrianrevolution or #debtceiling hashtags as opposed to #Freesass, wang, or cooch twit picks. Sure I enjoy some dumb things but I would like to think that there is a balance. Maybe I’m too serious.

  2. Jubilance

    I totally dig your point & i agree…but you’re speaking as a highly educated person, and through the lens that educational privilege brings.

    You’ve been able to develop your critical thinking skills, and most ppl in this country (heck in the world) will never do that. Our education system is set up for people to memorize & then regurgitate, not to absorb information, analyze it, and then articulate their own conclusions. Plus a lot of people are using things like Beyonce’s new single or who won at the BET awards as an escape from their dismal boring tragic lives. Sure they could talk about Syria or the implications of NYS legalizing same-sex marriage, but that type of discussion doesn’t make them feel better about their own lives. People wanna be rich & famous, and that’s why they amuse themselves with the exploits of the rich & famous.

    Its good though that at least you know who you can have those serious conversations with. I totally missed your discussion on Twitter #drat.

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      i never understood why people were so fascinated with celebrities. sure i’ll take some of that money but they can keep the fame. i don’t need my entire life being critiqued. also, if my life was dismal and boring i would be actively trying to change that. not stressing over a real housewife. i see your point though. you have to know better to do better.

  3. Slim Jackson

    You know I agree with this. The key is ratings. There are media sources that talk about the real issues, but it’s a completely different type of person that’s interested. And unfortunately, that’s not the “average” person. It’s the same with a lot of blogs. Once the audience gets to a certain size, they start focusing on reaching the largest amount of people they can as to not isolate and alienate.

    I think the key is building relationships or establishing content with people that share the same interests and then operating within that vacuum. I hate to call it that, but there really isn’t any other way to explain it. I know I’ve started following more deep thinkers and folks that actually talk about issues. It’s definitely been rewarding.

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      you’re right. it is the same with blogs. as evidenced by the lack of views on this post already. i’ve been saying that i need to unfollow a good amount of people on my timeline and incorporate them more deep thinkers. i think i’ll start doing that this week.

  4. That Damn African

    Great post. I think there are a few of things that play into this:

    1. The average American lives in their own little content bubble and doesn’t care about issues outside of that bubble for a number of different reasons, but mainly because our society tells us that it’s okay to do that.

    2. People want to be a celebrities, whether real or faux. Fame and fortune are all that matter to some. They pay more attention to entertainment topics because those careers are paid the highest and worshipped the most.

    3. Americans live to work, not work to live. Our capitalistic society used to inspire us with the phrase “the American dream”, but now it’s nothing more than a lie to some people and shackles to others. We’re worked to the bone and then told to do more. The rich get richer and tell the rest of us to make sacrifices for the good of the economy. People are tired and a lot of them use things like trashy reality TV as an escape.

    4. Slim touched on this, but ratings drive content. If people pay more attention to drama and sensationalism in their news, then that’s what the news corporations are going to give to us. News corporations are shady in their own regard because they do often present information with a bias or without all the facts necessary to make an informed opinion, but they recognize the laziness of our society and take advantage of that when they can.

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      all great points.

      i wanted to touch on point number 3. i believe a while ago i got into an argument that socialism isn’t as bad as it appears to be especially when compared to some aspects of capitalism. i was essentially tarred, feathered and run out of town.

      1. That Damn African

        “This probably illustrates another American problem– people don’t know the difference between Communism and Socialism.”

        Yup! It’s the same people who are basically getting a$$ raped by corporations and yet who think tax cuts for the rich are the solution to all our problems.

  5. Janina Jeff

    Great post as usual. I will say it rubs me the wrong way because I actually scroll through the tweets in my TL during the sports events, some TV shows, and awards shows. It rubs me the wrong way because you like many of us tweets during these events as well (hypocritical?). Well anyway I think most things in life you have to have balance. I read CNN and (New Orleans news) every morning before I start work but I still like to have a little fun from time to time with blog reading and tabloids, etc.
    What you have to understand is that while the news about Syria is not nearly as important as the BET awards there is intellectual gain from both. For example, I am sure many of OUR people did not know about the MLK memorial coming this Aug. or “Read Between the Lines” (modern day Cosby Show). Both positive tidbits, that attracts the audience that needs to hear it most. Well-educated people like ourselves are fascinated and almost obsessed with the large amount of information that we can learn and recall. So much so that we make sure we are up on global &local news, politics, entertainment news, and music; not only cause we are interested but also because we can. Just because we are deep and have interest that go beyond the average individual doesn’t give us the right to judge those who don’t. Let’s spend less time judging and more time educating those you judge to be more well-rounded like ourselves. Only God can judge, just saying!

    1. madscientist7 Post author

      first. i can admit i judge people. i’m human and its part of human nature. even you janina. you judge people too. whether you care to admit it or not.

      i think you also misunderstood my view on current events. sure i watch cnn but i also participate in and watch a lot of ratchetness. i watch shows like true blood and the office. i have balance but my problem comes with people who’s meter is stuck on ratchet.

      and i’m sorry there is nothing to gain intellectually from the BET awards. there is no way you can convince me of that. ever.

      1. Janina Jeff

        I agree if people are stuck on rachet maybe we should try to enlighten them. Just saying 🙂

  6. Veronica


    I saw a tweet that @Corrin31 tweeted last night, I’m sure I won’t get it verbatim, but it was something along the lines of how twitter was blowing up because of the BET awards and was probably not as hype during the documentary of the Freedom Riders….

    I was going to respond, but I got side tracked- probably by Chris Brown’s pants! Anyway… To address that and this..

    This is strictly my personal thing… Twitter is a source of info. NOT detailed by any means, but sometimes it does give enough info about a ‘life event’ that peeks my interest for me to check for creditable sources to confirm or deny the tweet. I tend to ‘play around’ on twitter just for shits and giggles. I’ll tweet about the BS like Real Housewives, Basketball Wives, BET/MTV awards because it’s usually jokes and I just carry on with the rest of them. When things like Freedom Riders or something that is truly interesting to me, I don’t have time for twitter. I don’t want to miss a single word, so USUALLY for things like that, I may tweet that I’m watching. Or I may tweet every now and again (during commercials), but no where NEAR as much as I would for the tomfoolery of the shows I mentioned earlier. So, for me, it’s not that I don’t tweet because I don’t knwo what’s going on in the world… it’s just when I watch and participate in things that are SERIOUSLY important to me, I don’t have the mindset to ‘goof off’ like I do for the other stuff. Maybe that’s the same or similar case for others… Then again, maybe they don’t tweet about ‘serious stuff’ becuase they have no idea of what ‘serious stuff’ is any more. (unfortunately, I’ve noticed that in today’s society not enough people are in touch with reality and more so in tune with REALITY TV…that’s usually more highly scripted than a best selling movie!…sad? I know).

    Anyway- that’s my take on it!

  7. gemmieboo

    great post!!!

    its funny you wrote this post because i woke up this morning thinking: “i wasted like 4hrs of my life watching BET yesterday instead of doing something meaningless with my sunday evening.”

    i definitely understand your cause for concern about our society (by and large) being obsessed with trivial matters and news with high entertainment value/relevance. i think as educated individuals, who have climbed high up the higher ed ladder, have the hardest time accepting the fact that ppl reject news and info that affects our actual lives/way of living.

    i know its cliche but ignorance really is bliss. its soooo much easier to be caught up in mindless banter about foolishness (re: BET awards) than it is to critical analyze matters that are much more complex and require work to comprehend (i.e. politics, economics, climate changes). not that this is an excuse, but it certainly explains the trend.

    but even our own news media outlets put a higher value on nonsense stories. i cant tell you how disappointed i was to CNN doing live coverage of Lohan’s trial!!!!! even though i was on my lunch break, having margaritas with friends, i was like “wtf is this? please tell me there are more interesting and important things going on in the world for CNN to focus on.” *shrug*

    i dont think the average person will ever be really excited about gay marriage being legal in NY, or the ban on funding stem cell research being overturned, or Egypt rebuilding its nation. and thats just what it is.

  8. missevadiva

    Good stuff.
    I check CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News every morning, then I watch Retro Centic for ol school music.I was brought up in that type of household though. Both of my parents love the news and any kind of information. Before everything was online, We used to get NatGeo, and Time magazine. My parents still do (I think). I say all of this because that may play a role in it.
    Also to me it is not so much that you have to know what is going on in Syria or The gaza strip or whatever but you need to have some knowledge of something besides BBW and racks on racks on racks.
    I feel as adults if you are around other adults that have no knowledge of anything that is going in the world around them, tell them.
    Educated folks love to talk ish about people that are not knowledgeable (sp)on certain things. Each one teach one and ish.

    All i have for now!

  9. Adonis

    Alot of human are simple creatures… Basic needs to maintain… Some humans have holes in their personality, and they live vicariously through celebs & others…

    I think as a smart man such as myself should learn to exploit & appreciate the simply of humans… And enjoy the ride…

    Good & Understandable post


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