The Inevitable Johnny Depp-Amber Heard Trial Piece
An infographic at the Axios news site recently showed that the “number of social media interactions per published article” regarding the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial was, on average, over three times that for a piece on abortion, five times that for pieces on the war in Ukraine, seven times for that items on inflation, and eleven times that for items on COVID.
The data is presented with little analysis or comment. But the implication many will take from this is that the American public is a pack of Idiocracy-come-to-life idiots who care more about a tabloid-type story about celebrities than they do about their own basic rights, the cost of living in a time in which so many are struggling to make ends meet, the mass death in a recent epidemic that is terrifyingly normalizing that death, and what may be Europe’s bloodiest interstate conflict since World War II as it potentially escalates into a far, far worse World War III.
Of course, a more charitable view is possible, and I do think I should set it forth here. This is that the press has done a lousy job of reporting on the more important stories, with the result that few of them tell anyone very much that helps them understand the issue — instead subjecting the reader and viewer to a hard rain of minutiae, and where what to think about it is concerned, “Establishment” opinions that reliably make anyone who holds Establishment opinion in contempt feel vindicated in short order. This would seem especially the case with stories about events that have at this point been ongoing for a long time, stories where the details require a contextualization the mainstream media consistently fails to supply, and stories where the media’s combination of methodology and blatant bias makes its competency and honesty suspect in the extreme not to “conspiracy theorist” lunatics, but any human being with a faculty for critical thought (all of which applies to abortion, Ukraine, inflation and COVID).
But the public can, looking at the proceedings of the Depp-Heard trial, make some sense of what is going on with that, in spite of the media’s characteristically disgusting job of covering the matter.
The result is that what is at issue here is not the stupidity of the public, but the failure of the mainstream media to do its job properly in regard to the largest and most important problems, events and controversies of our time. And while speaking of that media’s failures let us not forget that the tabloid stuff would not command the attention that it does were it not so vehement about forcing it on the public’s attention at the expense of what attention it does give the life-and-death issues — after doing which it lamely excuses itself as only “giving the people what they want,” and excoriating anyone who tries to do a better job as a purveyor of “fake news” to tinfoil hat wearers and worse, and screaming for the search engines and social media sites to impose censorship as they self-importantly speak of “free speech.”
Originally published at https://raritania.blogspot.com.