Etymologically speaking, the phrase “hook line and sinker” refers to a fish being so hungry that it swallows the bait, the line, the hook, and the sinker (a sinker being a weight used to keep the hook below the surface of the water). When I use this term with the term journalism I am referring to any media outlet which uses fear tactics, awww factor, stereotypes, or other methods of emotional manipulation to bias the news it is delivering. By playing on people’s misconceptions and emotions the media outlet actually colors and shapes our perceptions of the world, and in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king.
In essence, hook-line-and-sinker journalism plays upon our vulnerabilities in an effort to mislead, misinform, and control. It feeds into fear of other people, races, cultures, classes, and creeds to use them as tools against us. It uses our hunger for sense, empathy, kindness, and order to the chaos as bait. This method of journalism knows no political affiliation, it is both conservative and liberal, it has been called by other names (propaganda), and it can be stopped simply by keeping an open mind and questioning everything. Regardless of who is talking or who wrote what you are reading, it is your responsibility and right as a human being to question it. While certain types of writing have a place for emotional content and response, journalism is not one of them. Look past the pretty talking heads, and ask yourself if what they are saying actually makes sense according to your interpretation of your experiences.
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