The saying that good news travels fast, but that bad news travels faster is more an indictment of our central nervous system than it is of the ability of news to spread; albeit good or bad. Our brain is hard wired to alert us if there is danger, and bad news not surprisingly falls under the category of danger.
One can only wonder what life would be like if we were hard wired differently but alas we are not. Which leaves us wondering, if bad news is danger, and we are inherently drawn to it like a moths to the flame, what possible effects does having bad news at our fingertips twenty-four seven have on who we are? Both as a culture and a country! Does all that conservative speak about how bad the present political administration is have more than just an alarming effect on us?
In the past we read our news in papers at relatively slow motion, compared to the way we get news today. Now, we get dinged on our cell phones within seconds of any major occurrence of news anywhere in the world! Not surprisingly now that everyone has become a news reporter, the credit worthiness of news has suffered as well. The fact that the story is reported by a veteran reporter with a camera crew or a twelve-year-old kid with a cell phone doesn’t seem to be important to the story anymore.
Now that news is viral; nothing is unrepeatable. More news and information is uploaded onto the net video providers in one hour than we could garner glued to a television in a solid week! Be it news regarding social issues, as in the uprisings in Egypt and Syria or what designer fashions are walking down the runway on the red carpet! If you have an interest there is a news source out there to address it. We may be more enlightened, but at what price?
To even the most casual observers Americans appear more cynical, and distrusting of factual based reporting and eagerly willing instead to trust their own gut on making personal judgments on the veracity of the news they see. For example; despite the complexity of the financial crisis, rather than looking for all answer we tend to use one answer to dismiss the whole mess: greed, crooks or poor government! Failing to understand, that not everything has a simple one word solution or cause.
Compounding the situation is the problem that for the man on the street the line between personal opinion and news reporter has become blurred by the morning anchor turned co-host turned corporate mouthpiece. Finding the line between biased news and real news has become almost impossible.
For sure bad things are happening everywhere and we do tend to turn a deaf ear at times to the problems of the world if for no better reason than to just maintain our sanity. However one of the major effects of twenty-four seven bad news has had a profound effect on the American psyche. In that America has gone from a country of people who see their glasses as half full to a country of pessimists who say the glass is now half empty. And it’s not hard to wonder why.
In just one evenings worth of watching the media I have learned that wars are currently being waged by one faction or another against, women, drugs, the liberal media, the conservative coalition, the elderly, medicate benefits, social security, the rich, your personal liberties and mine and a host of entitlements hence forth thought to be more your right than something someone can take away as a line item budget cut! One would almost think that the idea of waging a war on something gets it the public attention needed to win the war! Not necessarily true in world of optimists!
(More to come)