The Outrage Industrial Complex is real. It exists on the left and the right, mostly on the extremes but not only on the extremes.
Are there reasons for people on the left and on the right to be outraged by certain things? Absolutely. But it seems like every place we turn now we are constantly alarmed to some new outrage – and most of these never actually materialize.
Politicians, pundits, the media, and advocacy organizations are the biggest culprits of fostering false outrage. It’s not hard to see why they do it. When more people are outraged, it helps them.
Politicians and advocacy organizations foster false outrage to get your attention. This produces more social media activity for them, which leads to more media coverage, and more fundraising appeals, in their desire to get elected and gain more power.
The media, including the pundits, foster false outrage because it brings your attention to them. More clicks. More time listening to or watching their shows. That means higher ratings and more money they can demand from their advertisers. More money and fame for them.
Together all of these entities make up what I now refer to as the Outrage Industrial Complex.
When you see or hear a politician, pundit, or advocacy organization getting a little bit too excited about something “outrageous,” you should pause. They are playing on your fears.
Don’t hit that like button. Don’t retweet. Don’t spend endless hours watching cable news or directing your anger toward “the other” side.
Ask yourself why is this person or entity really so excited? Maybe see if anyone else is talking about the issue. See if this latest outrage is something that actually makes a difference in your life or in the life of someone you know. Or is it just false outrage?
Americans are very polarized right now. But it’s mostly because the Outrage Industrial Complex has ramped up the rhetoric for their selfish interests. When you pull back the curtain, things are a little calmer in reality. In fact a new study shows that most Americans actually like their neighbors. The more surprising good news from this is many Americans still talk to their neighbors. It seems we are more disgusted by the caricature of “the other” side than we are at people we actually know in reality.
Are there problems? Absolutely. But one question we should ask when someone is outraged: what is their solution? What problem are they trying to solve? If it’s about getting your clicks, your eyeballs, or ultimately your charity, then I think it’s time to laugh at their outrage and tell them to defect from the Outrage Industrial Complex.
Things are not as bad as they are trying to make it seem. Don’t let those who are part of the Outrage Industrial Complex manipulate you or your emotions. If you do, you have ceded control to them – and that’s precisely what they want.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AmericanActionNews.com