Thu, 9 October 2014
OMGTHEEBOLAISINAMERICAANDWE'REALLGONNADIE!!! ESPECIALLYTHOSEOFUSINTHEDALLASAREA!!! MEANWHILE,ISISSLEEPERCELLSAREALLOVERTHEUNITEDSTATESJUSTWAITINGTOPOUNCE!!! REPEATAFTERME:WE'REALLDOOMED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Or maybe Ebola will be contained; after all, it's been in the United States before, back when we didn't even have the technology we had today. The Islamic State isn't in your town waiting to kill you and your family. (Unless you, ya know, live in Kobani or Raqqa.) We're not all doomed; in fact, we're safer now than in any point in history. But none of that matters when people prey on sensational tendencies, all in the name of ratings.
That's what we're talking about this week: sensationalism!
We kick off the episode talking about the first sensational thing we remember in our lives, followed by discussing if we've ever been caught up in a wave of sensationalism (and if so, what it was).
Next, we move on to why sensationalism has such a strong pull on some people...and what sets those not prone to sensational manipulation apart from those living in fear.
Let's face it: most sensational stories we hear are spread by the news and other media. Is that brand of sensationalism damaging? And how has social media given rise to sensational thinking?
We're only human, and it's human nature to view experience (even wrong experience) as a form of knowledge. Looking at it that way, can people caught up in sensational news and thinking be forgiven for the fixation on negative stories -- most of which, never come true? After that, we devote a little time to asking if sensationalism can ever be a good thing.
While logical thinking can usually show unfounded fears in most sensational stories, basic logic (This; therefore, that) plays into the spread of sensational thinking. We talk about that, and then discuss some of the most humorous cases of sensationalism we've ever encountered.
We close out the show with two questions:
As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts below.
Oh yeah: a recent blog entry by Shawn about Ebola sensationalism.