My Love-Hate Relationship with Media – Hunter Paul

My relationship with media started long before I had a concept of what media was. I was lucky enough to be raised by my father, who’s a cinematographer. Growing up, I was constantly surrounded by his media tools, from cameras to computers. In my childhood apartment everywhere you looked there was camera bits laying around and data transfers running constantly.

One of my first major experiences with media was because of my father. One of his clients had purchased a large digital billboard close to Madison Square Garden, and I was lucky enough to appear in an ad on this large screen in front of millions of people daily. I was fourteen at the time and the scale of the viewership of this billboard was somewhat lost on me. When I went to visit the screen one winter, I would point to the sign and show random people that it was me all the way up there. They always looked at me like I was delusional. Lots of kids at school didn’t believe me, and dismissed my proof as photoshopped.

This is a long-winded transition into fake news. Donald Trump’s inauguration shook my family to the core and we all saw the misinformation system’s influence coming a mile away. It causes us a great deal of anxiety wondering where these conspiracy theories and lies would take us and our country. Half of my family managed to escape to the Netherlands, living in an ignorant bliss while the rest of my family remained at the mercy of a crooked media machine. The only thing they have to protect themselves is their common sense and the sane people they surround themselves with.

All these lies and deception add up to a war on information, and I’m not optimistic that this will be going away anytime soon. The wounds of misinformation are here to stay too.

Published by deuzemedialife

Mediastudies, University of Amsterdam

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