This simple photo recently crossed my Facebook feed. At first blush it wasn’t hard to believe, and it instantly created a visceral disgust for media companies. I assume this was its intended purpose. But then, in the spirit of respecting not only the message, but my own independence of thought, I decided to do some research on this and get “the straight facts” as best I could.
The first thing I did was an internet search for anything I could find on this meme (see my earlier post on mimetics) and found an article by Ashley Lutz here on BusinessInsider.com which states that meme’s like this are “missing some key transactions. GE does not own NBC (or Comcast or any media) anymore. So that 6th company is now Comcast. And Time Warner doesn’t own AOL, so Huffington Post isn’t affiliated with them.”
Far from going any deeper on this meme, or its corresponding article, I wanted to discuss the inaccuracy in a lot of social media that we often take for granted as soon as we see it. I assume (dangerous I know) that most people saw the initial meme and grunted an expletive about “big brother” and moved on, the impression of it stuck in a small corner of their heads.
Im no apologist for corporate media, and personally choose to get most of my information from multiple independent sources, but this is troubling. Much like much of the mainstream news these days, it seems that its become simply slamming ones opponent and promoting ones own ideas, rather than sitting down and finding middle ground on anything.
This meme was at best factually incorrect, and at worst an exaggerated lie seeking to validate someones point. My argument is that perhaps its time to spend less time yelling at our neighbors to think the way we do, and more time listening to other points of view, lest we learn something new.