One of the websites I check every day is Fark.com, where Drew Curtis has proven he knows a little something about exploiting silly news stories to make a buck. But he’s still amazed at how much of his content overlaps with what he sees on what are supposed to be the “more important” news outlets:
Mass media aren’t intentionally trying to dumb down the news, but there’s no getting around the fact that nonnews types of articles are what drive ad revenue on the Internet. It’s a subtle difference but an important one, because it removes intent as a motivation. Sadly, we still end up with the same result: bunk being passed off as news. Sometimes, the revenue incentive in media produces hilarious results. Remember the girl who couldn’t stop hiccuping this winter? ABC’s “Good Morning America” representatives called her home 57 times in one day in a bid to book her for the show. Occasionally, though, you get horrific results, such as this past January when nearly every news outlet ran video of Saddam Hussein’s execution ad nauseum for days. Apparently, snuff films are now OK for mainstream news. Now all that’s left is a live on-air killing passing as news, maybe in a high-speed car chase. Wait, that’s already happened.