The Media is the Message

By December 10, 2013 wod No Comments

After a great 5:30 class, I took a quick look at Facebook and immediately got myself pissed off at the world, so let’s talk about the Media today. Besides, Alice needs something to read at two in the morning. Don’t worry – it’ll eventually tie into our CrossFit world. Probably.

Generally when I think Media, I think News. More specifically, I think of those 24 hour entertainment channels with “News” in their name: CNN, FOX News, MSNBC and their ilk. Local news outlets, which usually feel like chewing tinfoil when I watch them, are kind of a subcategory to the Newstertainment. I see them as little brothers trying to mimic what their big brother does to be cool.

Sadly, these channels have to make money, which means they need commercial sponsors, which means they need high ratings. “High ratings” means there’s no such thing as “journalism” any more: the news outlets play to the lowest common denominator instead of standing up for truth and research and reporting what’s really going on.

“We give the public what it wants,” is a phrase that’s often heard at this point. Rarely are we given what we need, but we certainly get an overdose of what we want. If you have a kid, do you give the kid everything they want? Sure, you’d be a really awful parent, but when your child died from malnutrition in the first month since all they wanted was candy, pretty much everyone would agree you’re a bad parent. Network news and the 24 hour news channels aren’t here to tell us the hard truths in life and make us better people – they’re here to give us candy in the form of political dissent, knockout game alerts, shark attacks and weatherpocalypses. These things rile up the viewership, get eyes on the TV and money in the network exec’s pockets.

Now we move over to the internet. On the internet, there are no ratings, only money. It still works the same way: the more outrageous they make the title, the more people who click on the link. The more inflammatory they make the story, the more people will pass it to their friends to have them click and read as well. The more visits that article gets, the more ad revenue comes in, the more money the site makes.

Keeping these tactics in mind, there’s always low-hanging fruit to be had, especially in a world where you can write things up with little to no fact-checking and have it spread like wildfire with very little personal consequence.

The political party in charge is Destroying America and MY party would do things totally differently.

The political party in charge is trying to make the world a better place, but YOUR political party is Destroying America.

Your region of the country is Destroying America – MY region of the country is the Real America.

Everyone’s current pop star/boy band sucks because they suck.

CrossFit is full of coaches who don’t know what they’re doing, injure people due to poor form and give everyone they meet rhabdomylosis.

Ah, now he ties this rambling back in to us!

Yes, we’ve become big enough that we’ve become an easy moneymaker for people with low standards who don’t care to put effort into their jobs.

So, you’ll see the same tropes get trotted out time and again, usually overgeneralized in scope. All CrossFit coaches are inexperienced. They teach bad form and people get hurt. CrossFit gives you rhabdomylosis so often that it didn’t even exist in the common medical lexicon until CrossFit came into being. If you do CrossFit, it will hurt you, hurt your friends, kick your dog and sleep with your mom.

Other than politics, there’s no better low-hanging fruit to base crappy articles off of right now. We’re the newly popular kids in class, so all the fading beauty queens of the fitness world want to see us fall on their faces. If they see an article called “Here’s Why CrossFit Sucks,” they’re going to click on it to reaffirm their notions that we’re horrible, horrible people. Boom: ad revenue.

On the flip side, when your average CrossFitter sees an article called “Here’s Why CrossFit Sucks,” they’re going to click on it too. Boom: ad revenue.

When the CrossFitter reads the article, they’ll discover that the logic is faulty, the survey demographic is wildly inaccurate or the author is just parroting what they’re hearing everyone else say. Naturally, we want to come to the defense of our sport, so we write a little diatribe in the comment section. Boom: ad revenue.

Naturally, the Old Guard of Fitness needs to reply to that comment to explain to the commenter that CrossFit does indeed suck and here’s why. Boom: ad revenue.

The CrossFitter can’t stand that and feels the need to set the Old Guard straight and replies to that comment. Boom: ad revenue.

See where this is going?

So don’t buy in to the circle of advertising revenue – it’ll just convince these sites that what they’re doing is working. Don’t bother clicking over to read the stories and for God’s sake, don’t pass the link around. Sometimes a large part of taking the higher ground is understanding just how far the others are beneath you.

Our Partners

  • crossfitjournal
  • tough