Stop me if you've heard this before, a local TV station posted something on their Facebook page and the comments are filled with hate and ignorance.

That's the exact reason I had to block all local TV station pages on Facebook. Well, that and the fact that I kept getting sucked into said hate-filled threads.

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We see it all the time. They post something, with only a smidge of context, then they sit back with their popcorn to watch the comments explode.

Now you might be thinking that it's not the TV station that is the problem but rather the commenters themselves. That is correct. However, their click-bait style of content is executed intentionally to evoke an extreme reaction.

For example, the story about the drive-thru employee who threw a cup of ice at a customer. 

One station only showed the video with a brief statement about the employee being caught on video. They didn't mention the fact that this kid has Autism nor did they offer any insight on the work conditions that said employee was subjected to.

Does that excuse the young man's behavior? Not at all, but it does add context. Necessary context.

That information was all available at the time they posted the video, but they knew that including that part in their Facebook post wouldn't create as compelling of a story. So, they only mentioned it at the bottom of the actual story on their website.

On the bright side, it seems the audience is learning the wicked ways of these TV stations.

  • One user wrote: "If there is more to this story then it should be added this clip shouldn’t be the only thing shown"
  • Another person said: "...but if they post both videos they would not get so many people commenting on it. Welcome to swing the storyline for ratings.".
  • This person said what we were all thinking: "I think before we judge let's get both sides of the stories not just one side. That's not fair.".

Does that mean all TV stations are bad?

Not at all. It's merely an example of how their desire for page views and comments is more important than the story itself. It's also hard evidence that admins of these pages do indeed foster divisiveness when they post without full context.

Case in point, the original post about that young man throwing ice on a customer received close to 900 comments. A follow-up post (about the poor working conditions) only received (almost) 80 comments. Another follow-up post (about the mother explaining the young man's Autism diagnosis) only received 380 comments.

So, the news station pinned the original without all the context to the top of its page.

You'll see content (and resulting responses) like this all the time, all over social media, but it seems to be more rampant on TV Facebook pages. Who knows, maybe I'm wrong. Wouldn't be the first time.

I didn't mention the TV station, in the example above, because this article isn't about them specifically, more so about how all TV stations manage their Facebook pages and the resulting vitriol that ensues.

I'm as guilty as the next person, but we should all try a little harder to be good humans.

Disclaimer: The thoughts and views of Frank Pain are not necessarily representative of Townsquare Media or its affiliates. Frank is an old fart that shakes his fist in the air often.

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