I write about my life and life itself seen through my eyes for who can write through the experiences of others if not their own?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sensationalism Sells

The popular and sensationalist tabloid was founded some 80 years ago. Changing a few times its content, it exploited sex, scandal, and gory stories as its main form of attraction. The idea of making it gory came to its owner after noticing that people are attracted to the scene of an accident; not to help, but to watch.

Not as gory today as in the 50s, The Enquirer now focuses on scandal, gossip, extraterrestrial encounters and bizarre headlines. A snake with three heads, baby alien lives in my garage, Elvis came to visit me from the other side (oh, but he is alive!), and celebrity gossip, lots of gossip.

The stories are never in favor of anyone; their common denominator is negativity. Good doesn’t sell as much – maybe. And in addition, the stories share another thing in common; they are all based on “a good source”, a subject’s friend or “somebody told us…” kind of source. Where and when is never disclosed because there are no facts, it is all based on speculation and speculation sells, but speculation also damages and hurts.

Two things are astonishing about tabloids; that people are interested and drawn to the mishaps of others and that people make a living out of trashing others. And most victims do not confront them because the time and effort it would take to prove them wrong might outweigh the benefit. After all, no one takes them seriously.

Most readers know the tabloid stories are false, embellished, unproven, yet they continue to read them. Tabloids have a substandard way of making a profit. But they do make a profit at the expense of other’s discomfort and reputation. They sleep peacefully at night and so do the readers.