Can We Trust the Media? (Baudrillard) – 8-Bit Philosophy


In light of recent events concerning newscasters
being lost in the fog of… memory. It may be pertinent to ask:
can we trust the news media? For proclaimed “priest of postmodernism,”
Jean Baudrillard, it isn’t lack of access to information that renders the news meaningless, it’s the proliferation of images that makes it so untrustworthy. Depending on where you get your news, you’ll see “evidence” that climate change is a myth or a serious problem. Enough searching reveals that
Paul McCartney is really dead, Stanley Kubrick faked the moon landing,
and 9-11 was an inside job. If you look hard enough you can find the contrapositive,
underside, or opposite of any event. These multiple interpretations
don’t make the world more accessible. The explosion of information, of events, makes the ability to understand the world nearly impossible. The camera lens makes every image suspect. War is reduced to theatre, disease into telethon,
hunger into magazine covers. It makes the most atrocious events questionable. Every image is possibly staged, recreated, simulated
for a political end or to push a product. There are hundreds of news channels all competing
for viewers, followers, and hashtaggers. Media and advertising operate on the same wavelength. And as a result, the line between reality, marketing, and news is nearly impossible to discern. Media outlets and advertisers compete to keep people glued to their couches, perpetually titillated by the explosion
of content on the screen. It’s the selling of a lifestyle, a promise of access to the truth, as something to produce meaning. It’s why reporters appear at the scene of crimes, embed themselves with military units during war and stand on the banks of oceans during hurricanes—the signs of disasters are images to be consumed. While our lives may be utterly boring and meaningless, the nightly news reports that there are in fact
places where things take place. It sells the promise that meaningful things do happen. They broadcast stories of actual events, but far from giving viewers access to the world, The media creates a copy of an event.
They create non-events. Xerox copies of reality that are
easily ingested by a society that has been trained to accept advertising, suggestion, and disinformation. For Baudrillard, we’re complicit in this disinformation campaign. People willingly choose deception. The masses want to be tricked,
fooled, and distracted from the reality of their livees. Simply put: we prefer the copy of reality. In the world of social media,
we are no longer passive spectators. We interact, create, and dictate news. We are the screen, the editor,
reporter, and subscriber all at once. So dearest viewer, if Sylvester Stallone is
in the Boxing hall of fame as Rocky Balboa, and if people still believe the lie that wrestling is real, how are we ever supposed to find out
if Paul McCartney is alive? Greetings, beloved viewer. And thanks again for watching 8-Bit Philosophy. If you like the show, the best way to show us some love is to support the sponsors who keep us from going completely broke This week, 8-Bit is sponsored again by Audible who is going to give you a free audio book
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and claim what is rightfully yours. If you enjoyed this episode on the media, you might also enjoy Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. On top of being an incredible thriller, Flynn’s book also offers some really interesting insights on the way media shapes and often perverts truth. If stories about spouses wanting to hurt
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Support our sponsor. Oh, and if you liked this episode, be sure and check out our Ninja Turtles episode: “Is God Useful?” Again, thank you, beloved viewer.

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