When historians attempt to categorize early 21st century society, it will be seen as a time of great technology, great enlightenment with the sharing of information, but also great deception.
Think of the many ways society is now bombarded with information. Your phone is pinging with announcements of Facebook posts, text messages, Twitter tweets, etc., etc., etc. The three television networks have competition from endless cable sources.
Radios have local stations and satellite sources of music, news and talk. We are flooded with photos and news.
How are we managing?
Not very well.
Think back to the 2016 election with all of the Facebook messages.How do we know who sponsored them? Was it Russia? Do we care?
Trampled in this overabundance of noise are the legacy sources for information.
If you are a member of the millennial generation, ask your parents and grandparents what news used to look like.
Television network news was a half hour in length. It was informative and to-the-point about the nation’s important activities for the day and major world events. If you had told a veteran reporter to do a story on the Kardashians for the evening news, they would have quit in disgust. Local news stations added a half hour to hour of local, state and regional information.A feature story would cover an event in the community.
Then cable news arrived. All “news” 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Yes, there are many, many things happening in the world, but are these networks deploying correspondents to every corner of the globe? Nope. Costs too much. So they pay a few people to talk and talk and talk for hours. They focus on tiny details and find symbolism that would even make a college literary professor’s head spin.
But worse than that, the endless cycle of recycled and over-analyzed information has made some people give up. They have started to complain about the news and are grouping every news outlet, even the legacy news, into one overcrowded basket.
If we come out of this age of information technology overload with anything, it must be that we discover to be discerning in how we acquire information, how we examine the information we receive and that we recognize the importance of the First Amendment and how we need to find and protect our many good sources of news.
Start with your local newspapers. While technology has gone nuts with Facebook propaganda memes written to imitate newspapers, do not be fooled. Google the information you are reading online and see what a variety of sources say about these claims. Do not “share” what you haven’t spent a few minutes researching.
Your best source of news during these times is still your local and regional newspapers. They are still sending people to meetings and events. They have a vested interest in a good government and a prosperous economy.
Gather information, but make sure you are considering the source!