Social Media, News, and Bias

I heard about the attack on Paris from Facebook. That is where I ultimately get most of my news because I don't own a TV. As the posts came in, a lie wormed its way into Social Media and we bought it - hook line and sinker.

The lie is that traditional media didn't care enough about Beirut, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon etc, to rally the world to their plight.

The truth is that we, as consumers of media, didn't care when they did report on Beirut, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and so many other places.

It is human nature because these places are foreign to the West. They are 'other'. We don't identify with the people. We will more than likely never take a trip over there. It's too big for us to do something about. After all, what can we do? Go around every day upset and in fear?

The news of death and destruction in that area is constant, overwhelming, expected. So we shrug and ignore it because it's normal every day news; Kind of like Gang shootings in Surrey, BC Canada - Common everyday stories.

Add to that, our bombs and drones are killing people in Syria. If we cared, we'd be consumed by the guilt from the death of the innocents; Like that little Syrian boy who washed up on the beach.

When Paris is attacked - the West cares. Why do we care? We care because it's Paris. It's part of our history lessons. A city we love. A city we've been to or want to visit. We identify with the people living there. We can empathize with them because they are 'like' us.

Then there is the SHOCK VALUE!

Think about it. France has had other terrorist attacks recently, do you remember them? This one was larger, more deadly, causing more shock.

Shock value, unexpected, high body count. That is what makes us take notice of news stories.

Go to Google News and type in Beirut, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and you will see that traditional media is covering these stories.

Consumers aren't buying run of the mill bombings in the Middle East.

You will find the odd story that was so shocking, we did take notice, and we did care. A Syrian boy dead on a beach. That made us care. Not all the bombs that were dropped on his hometown, causing his family to flee. That, we didn't care about.

So often on social media we click on, comment, and share without a thought about the truth of a post. That is on us as consumers of media. Are we sheep or are we individuals with a brain, a heart?

As a society I'd say we are sheep.

As individuals, there are those who do care and work hard to get others to care as much as they do. They bang their heads on the brick wall and become disillusioned by Society's and government's selfish interests.

In the end, as an individual, I do care about the plight of people in the world. All one has to do is check my Facebook page, Google me, read the story behind my novel, to know that I care about suffering people.

I believe the west should care about all cultures and their plights, however, I'm realistic enough to understand human nature for what it is, selfish.That is why I transferred the setting of my novel, THIRTEEN, from the war torn South Sudan to Canada.

I wanted Canadian kids to identify with the plight of children caught in war and under totalitarian states, not to rationalize it as 'other.' I wanted them to care.

For more about THIRTEEN and the story behind it go to 

For more on the lie that Traditional media did not report on the Middle East bombings and pain go to:

Social media is filled with lies. We are lazy and we constantly share these lies making them into fact. Please Google and question before spreading lies.

Shannon Peel is a Digital Marketing Specialist, writer, and novelist living in the Vancouver area of British Columbia.  Follow her on social media where she writes about marketing, writing, novels, single life, divorce, parenting, and adventures with her Mini Cooper named Tori.

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