Opinion | Ignorance is bliss

As a society, we gossip too much about everything, including the fluff of politics

By on April 10, 2018

Jersey Shore is back on television, everyone is excited about Channing Tatum’s break up with Jenna Dewan because his fans now have a “chance” and of course we cannot forget the yodeling kid in Walmart.

All we really see on social media and online news outlets are pop culture and overly exaggerated posts about the current political policy issues.

Since the Presidential campaign in 2015, news outlets have changed their style of writing to more of a gossip-based read rather than hard news. Donald Trump has encouraged this writing style by his outrageous tweets and the trending fight between what is real news and fake news.

President Trump took advantage of the societal change he has caused. During his political speeches he refers back to his previous tweets and actions, frustrating those at the other end of the political spectrum.

This can even be a strategy to keep the public in the dark about what he is actually doing within the country. News outlets are distracted by the drama in the White House and the Capitol Building rather than what is actually important. Whether because people feel like the news is too sad and frustrating or because they simply do not care. Journalism is a business and it will adapt to what the readers want.

The U.S. is considered a laughingstock of the global community, we would rather pretend nothing is happening than look at the real issues.

Just ask former head of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter M. Schaub.

After resigning from his position as the top overseer of the federal government, Schaub had some critical words for the Trump administration.

“It’s hard for the United States to pursue international anticorruption and ethics initiatives when we’re not even keeping our own side of the street clean. It affects our credibility,” Schaub said. “I think we are pretty close to a laughingstock at this point.”

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) has even adopted this trend. BBC used to be the place where people could get global and unbiased news, but since 2015 they have been obsessed with the same things this country has with the Trump administration.

Why is it that we feel the need to know that there was the first U.S. senator to give birth, rather than what is going on in the third world countries? Or even the over-hyped and contradicting dispute between Russia and the United States?

Most social media account holders do not know the full truth, but get wrapped in the drama from President Trump’s tweeting and online news outlets rebuttal against or for the president’s administration.

“We are a nation hopelessly distracted by a 71-year-old, narcissistic media addict in the White House and a cable news industry that can’t get enough of him,” David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun writes.

Ranting posts on Twitter and Facebook regarding President Trump’s fake news accusation this week is a common occurrence.

Fact checking is important, especially reading the ranting posts on a fictitious rumor that was posted on social media. Yes, fake news exists, that is why your uncle rants about the fake impending gun law even though no such policy exists. Or your gay best friend rants about how Vice President Pence is starting to change LGBTQ+ laws.

We get sucked into anything that is outrageous.

The world is obsessed with gossip, “It [gossip] can actually be good for our emotional health…” Northeastern University professor Dr. Jack Levin, author of “Gossip: The Inside Scoop” said. “In general, he who believes, gossip is a force that ties together social and business networks. Others identify it as a way to see behind the curtain of employer pronouncements.”

As much as we want to know what is going on behind the closed doors of administration we only know the surface to distract us from what is really going on.

Has the country forgotten about the miscommunication and conflicting views in congress causing laws and budgets to not be passed? It seems that they can only agree on increasing their yearly salary rather than how to fix mental health care, the current gun law disputes and the unfair immigration procedures.

Instead it feels like we only care about the love/hate relationship President Trump has with Russia.

Trump’s administration has caused extremists to come out of hiding, which causes an increase in people’s sensitivity, so they shy away from any political conversation. This is causing us to only know our point-of-view with facts we have only seen. Not that it matters anyway, most people do not listen to other’s full opinion before interrupting saying their opinion is not true.

As a society, we have been known to listen to respond, without actually listening to their opinions. We are so stuck on our own beliefs and do not want to realize that the other point-of-view has good ideas as well.

Political intolerance has been around since our democracy started because no one wanted to listen to George Washington about not having political parties, but with any government, political parties are inevitable.

I can see an increase of political intolerance, the willingness to extend basic rights and civil liberties to persons and groups whose viewpoints differ from one’s own, with the Trump administration in place. This causes people to become more sensitive when people argue against their views.

To keep readers happy and not be labeled as fake news, online news outlets, including social media, have dumbed down and filled showtimes with gossip to keep audiences happy. Even if people believe that the news is too violent we should know what is happening in the world.

I guess too much knowledge can cause trust issues with the government or the world, or initiate fear that the world does not really need. There should be a happy medium between gossip news and real news, but we have not quite figured it out.

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