Think of the yearly film cycle. Each time a premiere comes out, the previous one then disappears from consciousness. The same is true with the news.
Think back to the start of the year, and this is written in context to the United Kingdom, we had the final nail in the coffin that is, Brexit. This was then followed by storms in the north that had devastating consequences, which was then replaced by the big C. Covid-19 arrived and dominated headlines for a couple of months, then the Cummings scandal emerged. Around the same time, Black Lives Matter became the top item on the schedule, followed by schools and exam results.
Each time a new story arrives, the previous one disappears, only to be focused on by those who hold the cause close. They then need to make a bigger impact, to draw the cameras back to their side. The same is true with the yearly Hollywood cycle. Films come and go, with marketing and PR designed to get it in front of people and then in their minds, for when the home release emerges.
People can’t focus on more than one outrage at a time
Who remembers Brexit? Right now, who in the United Kingdom, other than those who are working on it, remember? Not many would be my argument and this, in turn, gives the government license to make changes under the cover of Covid-19. Then, when the headline emerges next year that the United Kingdom left under a ‘Hard Brexit’, people will be outraged, as it will once again be topical. The lesson here is that if you dig in for long enough, then people will eventually forget until the next entertainment cycle arrives.
Covid-19 was a top concern for people until they saw, Mr Cummings and how he didn’t bother to adhere to quarantine protocols. This resulted in a loss of interest, and at the same time, Black Lives Matter emerged as a top story.
The reality is that the media needs eyeballs watching. It is therefore always on the lookout for the next scoop to divert people’s attention. This works in favour of the government. It shows how smart politicians can control the media, and in turn, the people.
Analogies with the fifth season of the flagship, Netflix show, House of Cards are appropriate here. With the president and his wife on the verge of losing the election, they promise to make as much chaos as possible. They start a war on terror to make as much noise as they can to distract, and that, as can be seen in the news cycle, is how people forget.
These issues are ALWAYS here
The truth is that all of these issues have not gone away. Covid-19 is still running amock across the world but people are bored. The majority of people are in shops doing as they please, having parties and events with more than they should. Some of the northern areas most affected by the storms are still rebuilding, and black lives still matter. All lives matter. All of these items are major concerns and we should never forget them but with the news in cycles, and smartphone addictions, we only care about what is right in front of us.
The world is full of pain. This is a point that cannot be denied but we cannot process all of this, as we need to see light at the end of the tunnel. We need to see that hope is there and that this will override other concerns. Much like the eponymous heroes in those Marvel films, we need to see that the side of the light will eventually prevail. This is true when we look at the news schedule, where we can see a story dominate one month, and then gone the next. At this point, it is lost from consciousness.
In reality, the news should always highlight issues of concern because that is their purpose. This will not get readers of viewers. Covid-19 will be here for years to come. Brexit has dominated headlines for years. It is draining to watch all the time, and so change is needed. This is where we see stories such as that with President Trump and Stormy Daniels override more serious concerns.
The news has become entertainment, where they showcase only the most sensationalised topic of the day. Every year, the world cries out for help, but if you do not have enough eyes on you, then you will be ‘missed of the schedule’. This is when those who see this and want to highlight the struggles of those who have been left of the schedule, turn to entertainment sources. Films that highlight the use of child soldiers, such as Blood Diamond, bring attention to a subject that was dropped by news outlets. In many ways, you can make the argument that if you want to highlight your story, then the only sure way to do this, is to make a film about it.
We are all human and we all forget. We also get bombarded with the same news items, over and over again, tuning out after a while. It’s no longer news is what you hear, but that is not true. Struggles in Syria are still there. Covid-19 is still here and Black Lives will always matter. It is just that we can’t all feel what those who are affected, are going through, so we tune out.
Rather than seeing these issues as affecting humanity, we oftentimes, focus only on what is around us. A lecturer once told me that, ‘Having a family is the death of creativity, at this point you can no longer tell the truth’. It is something that did not resonate with me until later years. As soon as you have a family, that is your primary concern, you are still invested in your previous concerns, but anything that threatens your family cannot be considered.
That preservation of self and looking at our own issues is something that evolution has not been able to override. This is why in the armed forces, you cannot serve on the same squad as a loved one. This is also why the news is on a cycle, as the most eyes that will be watching, are those with families. Those who feel strongly about these issues are out there trying to make changes. The ones that are watching it at home need to see something different, in order to keep tuning in, much like a film schedule.