How the media manipulates your emotions and what you can do about it

Do you remember the Budweiser Super Bowl commercial with the lost puppy and the Clydesdale from a few years back? If not, here’s a little refresher (grab the tissues!). 

Puppies and horses. An equation for a total tearjerker… And marketing success. That lump in your throat is money in the bank for advertisersBecause, whether it’s through evoking happiness, sadness, anger or excitement, marketers know that feelings lead to actionAnd journalists are catching on. 

The news today is filled with sensationalized stories of triumph and terror, of good deeds and natural disasters, and of love and loss. Journalists, in attempting to keep up with the changing media habits of consumers, found that people respond to emotion much more than they do fact or ideas 

Take this headline for example“Monster tornado destroys homes, flips cars and injures dozens in US.” How does it make you feel? Scared? Sad? Hopeless? Whatever the feeling, it’s intentional. As this headline shows, emotion in journalism is used not to educate or inform readers, but rather as a tool to get their (YOUR) attention.  

As people’s newsfeeds and timelines become increasingly cluttered with likes, shares and comments, the more difficult it is for a story to stand out. So, to get a response from readers (a click on an article, purchase of newspaper, etc.) journalists are turning to emotionally-charged headlines. Text written in conversational language tends to increase responsiveness among readers,” claims Charlie Beckett in his research study On the Role of Emotion in the Future of Journalism In other words, the more sensationalized an article, the more clickable.”  

Again, take the above headline: would you click to read if it read “Tornado touches down in US”? Same story, without the sensation. 

Words are powerful, especially when emotionally-charged. Which is exactly why it’s so important (read: necessary) to look beyond the headlines and recognize the article’s bias. Imagine how slick it would be if there was an app that made that possible… oh wait, there is! 

With gnomi, you get an even share of articles from both sides, so you can read through the bias to make EDUCATED decisions rather than EMOTIONAL. You’re probably thinking, “but, wait… the articles in gnomi have sensationalized headlines too!” And that’s true. BUT… gnomi’s SlantID shows you the level of bias in each article, so you can get a feel for (pun intended) the journalist’s intent 

Also, the tap-to-flip feature allows you to see an article on the same topic from the other side to see how the two headlines compare. Pretty slick.  

So, next time you’re scrolling through your Twitter feed, browsing the web or watching the news on TV, ask yourself “what are they trying to make me feel, do or believe about this issue.” Better yet, get your news with gnomi and get the full picture.   

Additional reading on the topic:  

Look beyond emotionally-motivated news. Download gnomi FREE today. #NewsDoneBetter. 

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