COLUMN: Misconceptions about the news media


Steven Saphore | Associated Press

Staff at the Australian Associated Press head office gather for an announcement in Sydney, March 3, 2020.

If you are blaming the media for promoting mass panic, you are simply consuming the wrong media. Sure, it may seem like large media corporations are contributing to the fear caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but they’re really just reporting on what has already happened.

The media is not telling you to panic-buy all the toilet paper and milk and eggs. The media is not telling you to run rampart through town and buy up every item you see on the shelves. 

And again, if you truly believe the media is forcing you to drive to grocery stores and spend every last penny in your wallet on groceries you may not need, I must say you’re focused on the wrong media. 

How about, instead of watching cable news outlets 24/7 and believing every account you read on Facebook, you subscribe to your local paper? Or watch the local news channels? Actually, many local and national publications have lowered the paywalls on stories concerning the coronavirus. So, you don’t even have to spend any money to read the latest (and most factual) information about coronavirus. Although, once we finally recover from this pandemic, you should continue to financially support local media. 

We are all struggling right now, I understand that. Journalists especially are feeling physically and mentally drained. Let’s take a minute to breathe. It’s a good practice to shut off our phones and turn off our televisions and focus on what’s happening around us. We are going to be okay. We do not need to buy cans and cans of food that we may never open. We don’t have to purchase toilet paper in bulk. Especially because not everyone can afford to do so. Shouldn’t we be looking out for one another? 

I have seen quite a few videos and posts from people across our nation who are struggling to get their groceries because they cannot afford to buy in bulk, though that is mostly what is left on shelves. Think before you buy. Think before you consume media left and right that may not be accurate. Finally, think before you leave the house. So many experts recommend staying inside and limiting how often you leave. Of course many people still have to work; that’s a necessity, but not everyone needs to leave home to work. We are not doing anyone any favors by leaving home if we don’t have to. 

Support journalists and support your fellow people. This is not a time to be selfish, nor is it a time to spread fear. Take what you need and give what you can. 

Amanda Larch can be contacted at [email protected].