Has Our Media Intake Become More Like Dessert than a Full Meal? A New Media Manifesto


Do we ingest media like we ingest dessert–with binges in non-substantive material, with samplings of sugar-coated delicacies in favor of something with, say, a little more protein? Or vitamins?

That’s the comparison James Madison University student Kathryn McDearis made in her “New Media Manisto”; her argument? We’re consuming media far more for pleasure rather than for substance and education. Is she right? Are we consuming media at unhealthy levels, binge-dieting in “sugary” media outlets like The Onion and Buzzfeed far more than with healthier, more “accurate” news material from sources like The New York Times or the Washington Post?

There is, of course, nothing wrong with dessert–as long as it is taken in moderation. But how do we grapple with the fact that far more misinformation exists on the internet–through social media, advertising, and cheap publications generating quick content to make a quick buck–than “healthy” information? It’s like taking a child through a candy store and telling them they need to pick out the healthiest option.

Are we on track to making society a little bit dumber, a little more educationally unhealthy, because we’re creating so much distracting information that we’re becoming unable (or unwilling) to eat our media vegetables? Watch McDearis’ creative argument about the matter. What do you think?