The media took a brief break from its political feeding frenzies to gorge on a generally apolitical tragedy.
The story of the OceanGate sub all but took over the airwaves as the media whipped up suspense over the fate of the people on board. The people on board were however dead and had been all along.
The Navy was aware of that. So were most experts. Even Titanic director James Cameron weighed in with the obvious.
The idea, held up by the media to profit from eyeballs and clicks, that people were sitting somewhere in a stranded sub waiting to be rescued was a lie. And the media knew that it was a lie.
9 times out of 10 a mysterious disappearance is just a death that hasn’t been discovered, but it doesn’t stop the media from generating suspense and promoting a search not because it cares about the people involved, but because it cares about its bottom line. Ideally, for its purposes, the sub would never have been found and then the story could have dragged on forever. Think about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 or Madeleine McCann.
These stories tend to be detached from the lives of the viewers and so can be safely consumed as a vicarious soap opera of the “did ya know” variety.
Two decades ago media critics would have pointed that out, but the media is so far gone that it hardly seems worthwhile to decry sensationalism. The “news” can now include summaries of viral videos, including SNL routines or John Oliver and Stephen Colbert reactions. Most of it consists of editorializing or clickbait.
Still it can be helpful to look at an example of apolitical fake news to what drives its political fake news.
Sure, the media hates Trump, Republicans or anyone who doesn’t want their kids to change genders overnight, but it’s also a money machine and it’s driven by the need to generate clicks and subscriptions.
Journalism wasn’t so much corrupted by politics, as it was always corrupt and that corruption clicks neatly with its politics.
The media has always created news at least as often as it reported on it. Politics is a good disguise for the basic corruption in the system. Much like celebrities virtue signal to seem more important than they are, the media virtue signals because “exploiting pain and making up stuff for money” sounds like less of a justifiable career.