Profits roll in despite the cost, Truth to the gallows! We suffer the loss.
Article 2, The problem of profits
What is the media for?
What a thing does or what it aims to do determines to a large degree what it is. For example, a waste disposal unit/company is designed specifically to dispose of waste, hence it is called a waste disposal unit/company. The function of a thing, determines also how it will act and in what way it will act. Like most entities in our capitalist economy, each media organization’s function is to generate as much profit as possible. While nothing is wrong with being paid for a service, it is this unyielding and unregulated money-hungry spirit that poisons good work and tilts the objective quality of service for the worse.
Maximizing profits generally hurts service and harms industries, but it is particularly harmful to the public when it comes to the media since it is from these entities that much of the nation form their judgments and thereby act.
How exactly maximizing profits hurts industries can be experienced everywhere in T&T today. Anyone can conduct an experiment to prove the claim. For example, in the automotive repair industry, the function of each organization is the repairing and maintaining of cars/vehicles. Yet, should a car be in tip-top-shape and therefore require no service at all, one can take such a said car to many automotive companies for re-alignment or servicing (knowing it requires none of the two) and find that the mechanics will proceed with the alignment and perhaps even recommend additional (unnecessary) services. On leaving one automotive organization you can go to another and experience the same treatment again! And then another! This is because each company in the industry is not really interested in repairing cars, they are interested in maximizing profits repairing cars is secondary. The same is true for other industries. In the smartphone industry, incremental upgrades are made to phones each year despite the fact that the technology exists to make greater improvements in a shorter space of time. Examples abound and an entire article can be written on the subject of how an unregulated marketplace is actually harmful to the economy. However, sticking to the point, we must analyze why this practice of maximizing profits is particularly dangerous when done by media organizations.
The media is said to exist in order to inform the public of the truth. However today, every traditional media outlet in T&T is aiming primarily at maximizing profits, this, therefore, leads the media to base their entire operation around what will make money rather than what is true.
How does the media make money?
The traditional media generates most of its money in an indirect manner through advertising. To generate revenue they unceasingly aim to attract as many viewers/eyeballs as they can, not to facilitate their education, nor in order to inform these eyeballs in truth, but rather to sell them to big corporate organizations and even the government. The media will present the reach of their productions to plutocrats who aim to deepen their pockets through the common manipulation we know and call “advertising.”
The media then aim, as much as possible, to get as many viewers as possible with the idea of selling these viewers to advertisers. These advertisers, be it private or state-owned, in the final analysis, keep the entire media organization afloat since they provide the money for the operation. This puts the media in a double negative situation where they must avoid telling any truth that may cause them to lose their regular advertising revenue while at the same time they must publish other exaggerated shadow stories that may very well be detracting from the heart of T&T’s real issues.
How exactly this affects objective reporting
Traditional media outlets to a large degree cannot report objectively, or at all, on a large percent of our national issues, be they social or economic. This is because these media entities have an umbilical-like connection to their advertisers. Should the media upset advertisers they can simply pull the financial plug which would undoubtedly lead to huge losses in revenue for that said media organization. Keep in mind that the advertisers I refer to here are not made up of a large group of small businesses or individual corner stores, instead, they are a small number of the largest corporate conglomerates in the nation. In many cases, the government is a part of the advertisers as well as multinational organizations.
The media’s need not to offend.
Because media outlets are desirous of growing their audience and selling eyeballs to advertisers, an additional problematic by-product begins to manifest itself. The media must do all it can to include everyone and be universally accepted. The media does not seek to reach unity through truth but instead promotes truth as relative making disagreements seem senseless.
The media worships diversity and plurality of creeds and ideas, implicitly implying that no one credo is objectively better than the other. Essentially the media has an underlying philosophy of liberalism (that everyone can invent/choose their own truth) in all things. They promote this false philosophy perhaps since by these principles, by eliminating absolute truth in all things, everyone and everything appears the same, thereby all barriers and limitations in their reach are seemingly gone. It makes it easier to spread their content by making it “universally agreeable” and therefore less “offensive.” The media, for example, will not publish an article that offends homosexual people for their engagement in an unnatural and unscientifically supported sexual action since they view these actions as “good” on the basis that those engaging in them also view them as “good.”
This is one of the grandest failures of modern traditional media since it leads to the open promotion of degeneracy. If there exists no one universal truth to which men must adhere, a truth which binds all men, which dictates the moral code of what is wrong and right, then there exists no need for journalism at all. If morals are nothing but social constructs of our imagination then how can a media call for justice in one case and reprimand in another? The two events can be justifiable by the fact that the man responsible socially constructed his own moral code and acted in accordance with that code.
Again, a separate article can be published on the problem of liberalism as a philosophical worldview but it is sufficient now to note that the modern media’s embracing of this philosophy is nonsensical and displays their love for money over truth.
The solution to the problem of the profit-driven and plutocrat-controlled media is complex. However, I believe that the best solution is for individual journalists to leave the traditional media and begin reporting via social media and alternative websites. This way these journalists can be crowdfunded and be directly rewarded for reporting the truth. Although this solution is also viable to several other issues it may be one way to prevent plutocrats from having an indirect controlling hand in who says what when it comes to reporting. Also, independent freelance journalists should aim at setting up alternative income streams so that the reporting they do would not lead to a complete financial loss should it result in the loss of income through lack of advertising or popularity. Unfortunately, the truth is unpopular in today’s strange world.
May God Bless our Nation!