You can’t read a news article these days without at least a handful of pedants having a moan in the comment section. Had this been Elizabethan times, they’d have been the hecklers in the stalls, the throwers of rotten vegetables at the stocks, the stitch droppers at le guillotine.
I usually hold my breath as I gloss over the trolls, cross my eyes as I skim over the illegible guff and pause briefly to read the token lament about how a reader’s preferred broadsheet is degrading itself with tabloid-esque online content.
I’ve been there. I’ve questioned what on earth the Telegraph is doing covering Kim Kardashian’s bum.
But the truth is what’s in the “public interest” is open to debate. If we’re clicking on it, the press will keep churning it out. And despite my protestations, I click on it. This morning I read a story about a TOWIE ‘celeb’ being the new face of eggs. I don’t watch TOWIE, I don’t care, but I read it anyway.
What we want to read is highly subjective. Ten years ago, we made that choice by picking a newspaper that published content that suited our political or social leanings. When we didn’t like it, when that content didn’t fit the frame, some of us wrote letters to the editor.
Today, the internet makes filtration of the irrelevant rather difficult and all ‘letters’ are published. Just take a look beneath the online news articles you read today, if you can stomach it.
We’re hit daily with Question Time coverage and ONS data, updates from Syria and cuts to our defence budget, mashed with YouTube virals, celebrity twitter ‘news’ and the latest on those Z-listers you’ve never heard of. The ones promoting eggs.
Content is a race with no end. The space to fill is limitless. It helps the PR industry because we provide a lot of it – but that’s another blog.
The point I want to make (so make it) is that this tsunami of content has turned us into a nation of snobs, full of contempt and derision for lowbrow articles, that – I will argue – many of us can’t resist clicking on anyway. Know how I know? Because beneath those articles are dozens of comments from those very snobs, pouring scorn on the Telegraph, the Times et al.
If you really don’t want to see that rubbish, or any more stories about professional troll Katie Hopkins, don’t click on it, don’t comment on it and the press won’t write it.
By Emily Garnham