What Your News and Your Groceries Have in Common
What does the apple in your fruit bowl have to do with your evening news? Actually, your local supermarket and your news media have a great deal in common. The junk you ingest isn’t that dissimilar from that which you consume in your mind. Even more frightening, however, is to consider what effect our chronic consumption of substandard products has on how we think, how we behave, and ultimately how we vote.
What Your Grocery Really Sells
In a prior article, which nobody read, I illustrated how capitalist market distortion has overtaken the production of food. To summarize, factory farms and big food corporations are forced by shareholders to grow profits quarterly, even as they face limited stomachs to feed. Since human beings cannot be force-fed, in order to grow their stock price, companies have relied on producing only foods that carry the highest profit margins: foods that are easily harvested by machine and store well on store shelves (think Twinkies…those things never expire.)
The problem is this: foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and Omega-3 fatty acids that are essential to our health, are also the very same foods that begin to decompose before they even hit store shelves…there just isn’t any “green” in food that has gangrene. The end result is that we consume less diversity of food, with lower nutritional content (quality), than our evolutionary biology intended. Indeed this is likely the primary cause of modern diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimers.
Your News Media Isn’t Immune
The news media is increasingly being consumed by the same profit-driven market distortion. In order to continually expand their stock price, news corporations no longer report the news…they entertain. With flashy graphics, sound effects, catchy (and often misleading) headlines, your news media today is just about about as a balanced as your breakfast. Let’s not forget the talking heads who are brought on to share their opinion and yell at each other like they actually know what they are shouting about. Today’s news media is designed to pull at our emotions, to keep us outraged, and to keep us glued to the TV, just as our food is chemically engineered to sooth our taste buds, but neither are wholesome, balanced, or even genuine.
Just like the cereal aisle, where only a few manufacturers control a large portion of the market, creating the illusion of choice for the consumer, most of our news comes from just a few mega-corporations. Heck, the media has even branded itself to suit differing socio-political leanings, just like your potato chips come in various flavors. Will that be Wing Nut Chips in spicy Buffalo or Sour Cream and Onion? But like those chips, the “news” that we consume today is predominantly soundbites or surface-level coverage that does as little to educate, as it does to satiate.
Just as our food is leaving us malnourished and overfed, our news media is bombarding us with more information then ever….but leaving us less informed. In the era of social media, like-minded and equally misinformed individuals reinforce each other into an echo chamber of ever cascading madness. Millions of people are falling into rabbit holes of their own creation, become radical in their mistaken beliefs, and militant in their defense of those beliefs. This is not good for you, me, the country, or the world. It is not good for anyone except the corporate giants who profit from your addiction to distraction.