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The media does not go into very much depth in their portrait of the issues

Page history last edited by Mike 2 months, 1 week ago

When compared to books and podcast, media does not go into very much depth in their portrait of the issues.


Reasons to agree

  1. It often seems that journalist would rather cause problems, than fix them. (+8)
  2. There is no longer any need for journalist. (+2) 
  3. Journalist tend to over simplify things. (+1) 
  4. "Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaperTruth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle." (+1) Thomas Jefferson
  5. The line between investigating and persecuting is a very fine one.” (+1) Edward R. Murrow
  6. "To read a newspaper is to refrain from reading something worthwhile." (+1) Aleister Crowley 
  7. Economic Incentives for Sensationalism: The media's reliance on advertising revenue encourages sensationalism over depth. 
  8. Format Limitations: Traditional media formats inherently limit the depth of coverage. 
  9. Audience Preferences for Brevity: Media caters to perceived audience preferences for quick, easily digestible content. 
  10. The format of non-internet-based media does not allow them to go into much depth. 
    1. Newspaper articles are limited in length, as compared to books, or Wikipedia.
    2. No non-internet-based media outlet can go into much depth, because only a few people are very interested in each subject. 
  11. If they went into depth on the issues including facilitating conflict resolution, what would they write about tomorrow? They would put themselves out of business.
  12. We don't need the media anymore. All the media does is oversimplify and mischaracterize each side.
  13. "The first discipline of education must therefore be to refuse resolutely to feed the mind with canned chatter". - Aleister Crowley

Objective Criteria for Assessing the Strength of this Belief

  1. Content Analysis: Evaluate the proportion of investigative reports versus superficial coverage in a representative sample of media outputs. If we generated a comprehensive list of reasons to agree and disagree with each topic, how many of these would get addressed or would they just go over the same emotionally charged accusation over and over again? What percentage of media's content includes Logical Fallacies, such as name calling? 
  2. Comparative Depth: Measure the average word count or airtime devoted to complex issues versus simpler stories.
  3. Diversity of Sources: Assess the range of expert opinions and perspectives included in media coverage.
  4. Follow-Up Reporting: Frequency of in-depth follow-up stories to initial reports on a topic.
  5. Audience Engagement: Analyze reader/viewer engagement metrics for deep-dive content versus simpler articles or segments.
  6. Quantitative measures of content depth, such as word count, citation count, expert interviews
  7. Breadth of perspectives and stakeholders included
  8. Presence of in-depth investigative reporting vs. surface-level summaries
  9. Comparison of depth metrics across medium (TV, print, online, books, podcasts) 

Unstated Assumptions

  • The incentives align for media outlets to portray sensationalist conflict over boring conflict resolution.
  • It is difficult to get in depth broadcast media to work because everyone is not interested in everything, and if broadcast media addressed each topic more 5 or more hours, not all people would tune in or out at the same time, you would still have repetition. This contributes to the problem that in the current format that the public is not capable of engaging with complex analyses. Books address this issue by being deep and focused, but the consumer can pause and re-start when convenient. Podcast do the same thing. 

Shared and Opposing Interests


  1. Desire for an informed citizenry and robust public discourse
  2. Goal of holding power to account and revealing truth


  1. Media's interest in profitability/engagement vs. the long-term public interest in thoroughness and conflict resolution.
  2. Audience preference for simplicity and reassurance vs. importance of grappling with complexity
  3. Short-term pressure for novelty/scoops vs. long-term need for systemic analysis 

Underlying Issues: Root Causes

  1. Media as Reassurance: People are emotionally exhausted at the end of the day after a hard day of work, family stuff, etc. They don't want to challenge their beliefs. They want to tune into emotional cheerleaders that say their side is great and that throws insults at the other side.  
  2. Economic Pressures: The commercial model of many media outlets emphasizes content that maximizes views or sales, potentially at the expense of depth. This isn't to say that the public isn't interested in depth, it is to say that everyone isn't interested in everything. Therefore, with the somewhat random nature of media exposure, the average person isn't likely to be very interested in the topic being broadcast right now. 
  3. Technological Changes: The rise of digital media and the 24-hour news cycle have transformed consumption patterns, possibly diminishing the demand for in-depth analysis.
  4. Educational Factors: A lack of media literacy among the public can result in a preference for simpler, less challenging content.
  5. Lack of media literacy and critical thinking skills in public
  6. Societal short-term thinking and desire for easy answers over difficult truths

Key Resources

  • Books:
    • "Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Neil Postman;
    • "The Elements of Journalism" by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel.
  • Articles:
    • Studies on the impact of digital media on journalism depth in the Journal of Communication.
    • Pew Research Center studies on media habits and economics 
  • Lectures/Debates:
    • Talks on the future of journalism in the digital age from the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

Top-rated Solutions

  1. Develop new media formats that juxtapose reasons to agree and disagree, curating the best supporting and opposing arguments, evidence, and sources (books, movies, podcasts, studies, articles) side-by-side to facilitate critical evaluation and understanding of multiple perspectives.
  2. Promoting Media Literacy: Educating the public on how to critically engage with media content.
  3. Support and expand public and non-profit media less beholden to commercial pressures 
  4. Realign incentives to reward depth, accuracy and impact over sensationalism 
  5. Supporting Public and Nonprofit Media: Encouraging models that are less dependent on commercial pressures.
  6. Innovation in Content Delivery: Developing formats that make in-depth analysis compelling and accessible.
  7. Collaborate to create richer information ecosystems with interlocking mediums providing different levels of depth 
  8. Encouraging cultural development that choses either honest evaluation of both sides of an issue or humility in conclusions. Telling people that treating sports as a full contact battle between good and evil is going to cause more harm than good and that it is OK to chose different hobbies and pastimes than the superficial hatred of the other side, and saying how great our side is. This can feel like it is helping, but its not. 

Alternative Ways of Saying the Same Thing

  • "Media coverage often lacks depth."
  • "Journalistic analysis tends to be superficial."


In the future, we will group similar ways of saying the same thing and addressing the same topic with "equivalency" and "topic equivalency scores." This is because, if we count reasons to agree vs disagree, we don't want to double-count the same argument just because it is worded differently. Also, to ensure quality and prevent echo chambers, we must bring all the arguments addressing a topic together. If we have a belief at the top of the page, we can list similar ways of saying the same thing and provide each with conclusion scores (based on the performance of their pro/con evidence and arguments), equivalency scores (to the belief at the top of the page), topic equivalency score, % positivity, % strength, and %specificity with more general and more specific ways of saying similar things. 


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