Saturday, January 10, 2015
more news at 7
Does anyone remember news in the pre-internet, pre-tech age? Long ago there'd be specific times of day when people would tune into their radios or turn on their televisions to catch up on the latest developments in local and world affairs. Generally speaking, there was a 15 minute morning news program you'd listen to at breakfast if you had time before going to work. Then there was another of those at noon. But the biggest news time of the day happened in the evening between 6 and 7 o'clock. The local news was reported in the first half hour and after that it was time to find out the latest about what was going on in the country and the world at large.
Back then it wasn't the least bit unusual that people everywhere would spend days wondering if little Timmy had been rescued from the well. There was never a question about whether rescuing Timmy from the well was the right thing to do. We may not have had electronic social media but everyone was certain you couldn't leave a little kid at the bottom of a hole in the ground. That was before the 24/7 news cycle.
Now all is confusion. Depending upon the opinions of whoever it is we choose to listen to, or watch, or read, we learn there may be many good reasons for leaving little Timmy in the well. Who is that dog anyway and can she be trusted? Getting Timmy out of the well is sure to be expensive and I'd prefer that money not to come out of my hard earned tax money. The people of Timmy's ethnic group are untrustworthy so why should we help one of them? Timmy's probably dead, so why bother?
So we go on to other things that are more horrific or more entertaining. The news cycle that never stops pushes and pulls our attention from one thing to another - never leaving us time for reflection. We think we're being informed when what's really happening is that we're being manipulated into feeling anxious and unsure about what is right.
I don't mean to oversimplify important events by appearing to wish we could go back to quieter times in the news cycle. Then again, the world has always been a wild and crazy place and I do believe there's a way of learning about events that doesn't force us into hastily made opinions forged by those who may not have our best interests at heart.
I wonder how little Timmy is doing?