Does The Press Indulge In Too Much Storytelling?
That’s a question raised by Bill Clinton.
The former President recently gave a lecture at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. (see video below).
He pointed out what he considers the excessive amount of storytelling in today’s journalism: “One of the problems is if a policymaker is a political leader and is covered primarily by the political press, there is a craving that borders on addictive to have a storyline. And then once people settle on the story line, there is a craving that borders on blindness to shoehorn every fact, every development, every thing that happens into the story line, even if it’s not the story.”
It seems to me that Bill Clinton is not wrong: The media do love nothing more than stories. Why? Simply because their audiences ask for stories. This is logical because storytelling is bound to human existence since the dawn of time and is by far the most efficient communication tool.
Therefore, the question that arises is: Has the media love for storytelling intensified in recent years? In my humble opinion, the answer is positive and, again, it’s all but logical. Indeed, the Internet has brought an unprecedentedly diverse and harsh competition upon those traditional media criticized by Bill Clinton. They responded by indulging in even more storytelling since they know this technique’s appeal to their audiences and master it. That’s why storytelling is ever more present in serious media. It’s just a competitive tactics.
Then, once a story is created, it is tempting for the media to make it stick, whether it is relevant to the news or not. Bill Clinton is right to denounce the proliferation of this method.