To Journalists, People Are Just Storytelling Devices

The Internet as a medium allows the media to construct a story out of real events, and disseminate it at an unprecedented speed in order to arouse the maximum possible emotions in the masses. Journalists craft these stories in such a way that the real events and people function merely as the targets at which the masses can release their own suppressed emotions. They only care about the facts that support their own narratives; the rest are ignored. They are just convenient devices with which the masses write their own narratives in order to justify releasing their anger and frustration, or to arouse a sense of unity/bonding (which allows them to exalt their own identity and power).

The people involved in these events are essentially used as “MacGuffins” in the sense that Alfred Hitchcock used the term. It’s “a plot device that motivates the characters and advances the story”, especially at the beginning of the story, but the audience ultimately do not care about it and forget about it by the end of the story.

In the news media, the masses are the characters in their own narratives with the journalists using real humans as MacGuffins. The masses do not care to know the details of these people and their circumstances because they are just storytelling devices to be forgotten in the end. The masses need these devices to write their own narratives which give them an excuse to unite with their own feelings that are normally suppressed out of the need to conform to their day-to-day reality.

If you are ever involved in an incident that has the potential to become a powerful story for the masses, it would be wise to keep the media away from you as far as possible. You shouldn’t even seek sympathy because the media does not care whether your story is sad, angry, or happy. They are just looking to turn you into a MacGuffin. They’ll cherry-pick the facts and truths to fit the narrative they want, and discard you when the story loses traction.