Good Example Of Argumentative Essay On Real-Time Feed: The CNN Effect
In “Real-Time Feed: The CNN Effect”, Rushkoff argues that narratives enable people to understand and grasp the issues of the day, but they can also can disrupt people in the present day format of 24 h news networks with CNN effect. Since the 24 h news lacks a narrative, people do not know what is going on and are stuck in doubt, shock and fear of terror. I will argue that a clear lack of narratives in news tend to mislead the viewers as the crisis and calamity reported can only shock people at first glance and they do keep people frightened. In addition, viewers may act differently on the same piece of news, just like they have different impressions of the same movie.
In Rushkoff’s opinion, people are not sophisticated enough to understand the real meaning of repeated news bits without a complete picture that explains the complete story. Hence, it is necessary that news editors transform them into simple and complete narratives that are easy for readers to grasp. The shift in 24 h news to keep repeating the same exaggerated phrases tends to distort the truth. Simple and direct narratives reassure readers from worries and enable them to participate as informed members. While I doubt the complete effectiveness of narratives in news, it is true that clear narratives help people understand the story, get to know what is happening, and visualize how it could end up. In the current 24 h news format, the stories lack a beginning, middle, and an end to provide people with time to absorb the shocking news and gain composure. However, sometimes, what people see is not always exact to what is actually happening. Rushkoff mentions that benevolent elites craft information and implications into simple stories for people to see and read (Rushkoff, 3). However, what if such elites intentionally misuse implications to mislead readers? The difference between stories and facts is that while facts cannot be changed, but stories can be. For example, the repeated depiction of a terrorist gang creating havoc in place X without emphasizing what is being done by authorities can only create fear and no reassurances. News editors can do whatever they want to narratives：they can modify information in the beginning, add wrong facts in the development to produce a completely different ending. News editors can manipulate viewers’ opinions by changing the subject of the news unconsciously. As Rushkoff says, editors are “insensitive elites”, who are very good at making up stories and they do so intentionally. As a result, readers see what the editors want them to see and feel what the editors want them to feel. People could have different opinions on a piece of news, but narratives unconsciously force them to have one particular opinion. While they help viewers to understand the story, narratives don not always help viewers to catch up what is really happening. Sometimes, narratives guide people to step into their traps, fall to their point and get misdirected. As a result, people are not informed, but misdirected. Such con game continues, as the media manipulates people how to think, feel, act and vote, creating a massive mess in the society. The traditional new format sticks to the facts and avoids manipulation of people.
Then, Rushkoff states that people would lose their abilities to respond to everything if there is no given strategy and they would end up with fear. When people keep hearing the same frightening phrases and get no clarity of the story, they do get into fear and shock. In my point of view, people would have been extinct by now if they did not know how to deal with crisis by themselves. Ape-men were there with no one‘s help and the whole world was probably strange to them. In Rushkoff’s opinion that if fear causes helplessness, ape-men would sit there with fear and die eventually because no one was there to help them. However, it turns out that ape-men used animal skins to make clothes, found and learned to use fire for cooking, survived, and kept reproducing until now. People have the ability to react to things in their innate nature, and if there is no destination, they will simply create one. In addition, news does not frighten all people. It’s true that the news media use exaggerated titles and negative pictures such as dead bodies (Rushkoff, 6) to draw people’s attentions, but they can never keep people frightened forever. The news viewers might be shocked by the amplified titles at first glance, but once they start to read through the news article, they would find out that the truth is not as exaggerated as the title. After being deceived by the titles for a few times, news viewers would not even be shocked by the titles because they would know that the real contents are not as frightening as the titles. However, some people end up in fear since they may not be smart enough to realize that tragic news are repeated and exaggerated.
In addition, people respond to news, and they respond differently. For instance, when children in school were shot in Connecticut last year, American people had different opinions and responses. Some people condemned the laws and regulations surrounding the carry of guns, some advocated reinforcement of the security systems in schools, and others grieved over children’s death on the Internet. While ordinary people in Japan might not even care about the Connecticut news because it happened on the other side of the earth and there was nothing they could do to help. In sum, news does not frighten people very often because it may not be as horrible as news people portray or seem to be, and people react to them even if there is no narrative given as solution, and they may react differently.
Rushkoff also argues that the 24/7 news cycle produces consecutive crises that are inescapable (Rushcoff, 6) and he uses examples of himself taking a vacation back in his youth not worrying about the news and people nowadays at Disneyworld checking news online as comparison (Rushkoff, 6). In his examples, Rushkoff argues that taking vacation meant losing touch with his friends, while the current generation at Disneyworld is online and text their friends. These examples prove that technology helps people to communicate with each other, but they have nothing to do with crises. It may be that our penchant for constant access to information is partly responsible for 24 h news. Also, people are not constantly shocked by news, because they only view or read news when they choose to. People read news because they are curious about what is happening around the world and they do not get frightened because what is happening in the news has nothing to do with their lives. For instance, a kid or someone at Disneyworld might take out his cell phone and go online to the Internet for some news because there is not much he could do while waiting in a line. After exiting the park, most people would put their cell phones back into their pockets and enjoy the journey there. For the most part, news around the world would not shock them because they treat news as a means to kill time and it has nothing to do with their lives. A good number of people choose to read news when they want to take a break. Typically, people read news paper on bus and subways; watch TV news at home before work at breakfast or after work at dinner.
In conclusion, people treat viewing or reading news as a means to relax and they only do so when they have time and want to. Therefore, news does not keep all viewers shocked, perhaps some people might be shocked because they want to be, most people only read news when are free to do so and no one is watching TV news all day.