The Fear/Rage Dopamine Loops and Crime Journalism

Facebook is being sued in almost every country over concerns that its algorithm harnesses the worst emotions that humanity has to offer and then rewards them for it. This is resulting in reports of genocide in Myanmar, deaths of teenagers, families destroyed by fake news, and a general feeling of hatred toward our fellow Americans. It may not be so much that Americans like this information or like feeling this way, as it is a matter of belief that this information makes them part of a special elect few who have their finger on the pulse of the American heartbeat.

How Does Your Local News Cycle Work?

Essentially, everything you need to know about your news cycle can be gleaned from the movie Nightcrawler. In the movie, an unlikeable protagonist fulfills his dream of becoming a vulture by getting a live feed of newsworthy events. By the end of the movie, he is creating events to film and getting rich off of these created events. While this is unlikely to happen in real life, the fictional space that the movie creates allows us to see how that would work.

Ultimately, it is a chicken and egg thing. We know that people stay glued to information that scares them. Why? Because feelings are in short supply nowadays, we have become numb to everything, and the only people watching the news are older. Older people see society changing around them, become afraid they will no longer fit in that society, and look back on a time when they did fit. So, we are highjacking multiple fears to create this narrative of loss, indifference to society’s troubles, and the ever-present threat of bodily harm every time you leave your home.

Analyzing the ontology

If we have a set of committed concepts that include 1) Fear of crime/disorder; 2) belief in a lost way of life; and 3) belief that a segment of society is responsible for this problem, then we have all the elements we need for a kind of proto- or Ur-fascism. Ultimately, the psychology of loss and grief puts on this vector toward authoritarianism. The news stations know exactly what they are doing, and they also know they can make a mint off of good-hearted people who are afraid of legitimate crimes. The fact is, though, “tough on crime” policies do not reduce crime. They only increase the state’s overhead when it comes to prosecuting and punishing. We already have the world’s largest prison population, so putting more people in prison is not going to be a solution. 

Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Don’t drink the cultural Kool-Aid. Instead, hire a lawyer. David Freidberg represents the interests of those overcharged with crimes in a frenzied era of shoot-first and ask questions later. Call today at  (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your needs immediately. 

Contact Information