Substance versus Sensationalism.
Ever walked out of a movie theater greatly disappointed for having spent $10 and wasted three hours for a horrible film? True, the movie reviews were great, the tickets were sold out, and the actors were famous. But what happened to substance?
News and reviews about the entertainment industry do not differ much with news and views about political affairs. Political coverage in today's mass media has gradually metamorphosed to an entertaining production and a technical exercise. With special effects, colorful graphics, sharp sounds, and attractive anchor people, it has become difficult to differentiate between the quality of the presentation and the quality of what is being presented.
This week's political coverage of the Taliban government's intention to demolish the Buddhist statues is yet another release that topped the box office. The story has dominated the media channels generating powerful footage for sensational coverage and corporate advertisement. The action-filled headlines focused on the dead Buddha statues and failed to recognize the starving Afghanis who have preserved them for millenniums.
In the entertainment world, when a movie is released, be it good or bad, its popularity is linked to the efforts of promotion agents who are able to successfully bring awards and attract the mass' wows regardless of its quality, significance, or contribution to the respectable field of the Arts. In the news world, the dominance of stories is also affected by editors who cater to popular demands, by publishers who please corporate advertisers, and by PR firms who have their own agendas to promote. Having been metamorphosed into an entertainment industry, the news industry has lost its original mission of bringing quality content of relevance to humanity. It is no wonder then why the corporate media has stopped recruiting journalists who once produced quality stories, replacing them with reporters who relate sensational stories.
O Allah, make us among those who select substance not sensationalism.