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The Inane Halloween News Cycle

silly; stupid.


In my post earlier where I said that Halloween should be celebrated for being the wonderful community holiday that it is… I also mentioned the Halloween news cycle that the popular media goes through every year… Well I thought that I’d just highlight a few instances of the inane content that gets created by the media to earn some money off of you.


Still checking Halloween candy? Beware pot edibles

As Oregon marked its first Halloween where recreational marijuana edibles were legal, questions were raised about how the relatively new industry would keep those adult products that can look like candy out of younger hands.

in Colorado, authorities raised similar concerns after the state legalized marijuana. But after Halloween 2014, there were no reports of trick-or-treaters getting candy with marijuana


Idiocy. (bolding mine)

This is an example of an article that is meant to play off of parents irrational fears to earn some extra advertising money.

It’s written so as to attract the fear clicks of googlers and give a platform to activists rather than to you know… be helpful. And also what kind of idiot honestly thinks that an adult who just spent $20 on a bag of THC infused gummy worms is ever going to give that to a child who is trick or treating???



To continue with our walk through the media world…

Halloween ‘has become a night when the devil rejoices,’ according to Pat Robertson

Each year, Dianne lets her teenage son attend a Halloween event with friends at a local theme park.

But this year seemed different, she explained in a letter sent to the Christian Broadcast Network.

Rumor had it, she wrote, that the theme park was going to have a haunted house “based on Satan and demons.” But this wasn’t just any rinky-dink production put on by neighborhood high school kids. There would also be “girls” in suggestive demonic attire selling “drinks” and even listening to techno music, wrote the mother, who identified herself only as “Dianne.”
As if that wasn’t bad enough, she explained, a “demon DJ” would be in attendance — one who planned to do use his electro-magic dubstepping wizardry to “encourage people to dance.”


While I found the article humorous… the point is that a news company is using Halloween for not-news. It’s just another article attempting to get and hold onto the Halloweenie googlers of the world.

That bothers me.


Because I think if you’re going to sit there and devote your website to news, call yourselves journalists, but then push out vast quantities of not-news... you should probably either create separate sites for the news and the not-news or be honest with your users and tell them you’re just a big bloated content company.

I also think it’s important for writers to write because they want to, because they’re interested and passionate, rather than writing up nonsense because of analytics and trends. (That was a general comment not a specific one about the article above)


Frankly, it’s almost like the entire world has become click-bait and everybody is refusing to acknowledge it.


In fact… here’s some evidence on the entirety of the media becoming click-bait…

Halloween’s urban legends have a habit of absorbing other urban legends, so I’m not surprised to see a rumor going around about a Halloween Clown Purge:


See all those shares? Halloween + clowns + The Purge = social-media catnip. But look at the bright side: This isn’t anywhere near as popular as last year’s big rumor, the “Halloween Revolt.”

Remember the Halloween Revolt? Some anarchist militia that no one had heard of before was supposedly going to spend the night of October 31 luring cops into ambushes and killing them. Chunks of the media just ran with the story, treating it as a bona fide threat rather than a revamped gang-initiation urban legend mashed up with the resurgent fear of a war on cops. (Some versions of the story managed to work in a reference to The Purge too. The fear that young people are getting ready to reenact the violence of the Purge pictures is getting to be a perennial panic, and not just at Halloween; one such rumor even shaped police behavior right before the 2015 Baltimore riot.)


Analytics, trend, based content lets the media spread nonsense in the pursuit of money and leads to very real consequences…

But rather than slow down their content so as to check for accuracy and such… it seems the need to monetize everything everywhere all the time means they have to skip all the steps that could not only prevent panic but also lead to them creating articles that are… you know… actually helpful.

The entire world is click-bait.


As a society, I think it’s probably time we stop tolerating media companies’ dumbass behavior.

I think it’s probably time we stop letting people monetize every single second of our lives.

I think it’s probably time that we stop dehumanizing people by seeing them merely as ‘trends’ to be exploited.

I think it’s time for writers to change their behavior for the better and for society to support that change.


Update (11/2/2016) – Nobody Gave Your Kids Edibles Now Stop Giving Media Companies Ad $$$

A search of the Nexis database turns up 13 warnings about marijuana candy in trick-or-treat bags published by newspapers since October 1. Nine of those warnings appeared in public disservice pieces that ran in Iowa and Nebraska under headlines such as “Tips to Stay Safe on Halloween Night” and “Don’t Clown Around This Halloween.” One story ran in the Salem, Oregon, Statesman Journal, which noted that Monday was “the first Halloween when recreational edibles were legal to sell in Oregon,” although it conceded that “the Oregon Poison Center doesn’t forecast anyone giving out candies with marijuana.” Still, you can never be too safe, right? Similar stories, encouraged by propaganda from the Denver Police Department, appeared after legal recreational marijuana sales began in Colorado, where police reported no actual incidents of THC-tainted treats.

The four other 2016 stories about marijuana-infused Halloween candy, which appeared in The Miami Herald, the Orlando Sentinel, the Bradenton Herald, and the Las Vegas Review-Journal, reported warnings from opponents of initiatives that would legalize marijuana for medical use in Florida and for recreational use in Nevada. The Sentinel also ran a column by Scott Maxwell calling the scare tactic “hogwash.” The only reports of an actual incident were the ones provoked by Sheriff Reed’s press release, which was printed on stationery that proclaims “Honesty…Integrity…Trust,” right below the photo of counterfeit cannabis candy.



So we’re all okay with this? Media companies passing off bullsquirt so as to earn ad money? Without caring about the factuality of their “reporting“?

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