Meghan Markle: Tabloids should have cigarette-like warnings

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(NewsNation Now) — Meghan Markle is taking on the tabloids and clickbait culture.

She said the media and social media are in a race for the bottom and they’re dragging everyone else down with them.

The duchess of Sussex made the comments during a summit hosted by The New York Times. The theme of the event was advancing women’s equality. At the summit, Markle said tabloids should come with a warning label similar to those on packs of cigarettes.

Markle and Prince Harry announced in early 2020 that they were quitting royal duties and moving to North America, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media.

British royal commentator Hilary Fordwich said the idea may not sound as far out there as some may believe. She pointed to a recent article that drew comparisons between social media and tobacco companies.

“The Wall Street Journal recently ran a piece which was drawing analogies between Facebook and a lot of the online social media and the (campaigns) against the tobacco industries back in the ’70s. And the legislation that came out of that were warning signs on packs of cigarettes,” she said.

According to Fordwich, social media companies know they are creating an addictive product — particularly for young people — just like the tobacco companies knew it.

As far as tabloids go, Fordwich believes there is a role for them in the media landscape.

“[Tabloids] often uncover things that the broadsheets never go near, and they uncover,” Fordwich said. “Affairs of members of the royal family even that, for example, the broadsheets don’t” cover.

However, Fordwich warned of tabloids embracing “clickbait” culture — content intended to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page.

“If you’re getting paid for the most clicks, and you’re getting more clicks when people are ‘hate clicking’ on things, then without question, you are perpetuating a cycle,” she said.

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