We have moved from a nice, easy pace of information gathering to a time when we are deluged by *news* as if we’re standing…or trying to stand…in front of a firehose. *News* is set off with asterisks since I’m not at all sure we have an accurate non-shifting definition anymore for just what constitutes *news*.
This is not new, but it seems to be exacerbated every month. We live in a twenty-four-hour news cycle and that news comes at us from 360 degrees. It is now virtually impossible to find anywhere that provides a bit of solace from the onslaught. We have decided that we must be tied into the world’s happenings every waking hour no matter where we are or what we happen to be engaged in at the time.
Try to think back just a decade to recall what your life was like then. Were you feeling the same way then that you feel now? Were you as tied to current events, really current like ‘happenings anywhere and everywhere within the past ten minutes‘ current.
It is our own fault. We asked for this electronic wonderland and we’ve had that delivered in spades. Seeing someone with head buried in their hand-held multi-option battery-driven communications device is now more common than seeing someone not ‘heads down with thumbs aquiver’. This is a fairly recent phenomenon but the use of this technological breakthrough is almost akin to having had a lobotomy with appropriate implants to facilitate the speeding of the process of being ‘connected’.
We ignore people with whom we might’ve stopped to visit since we simply cannot afford to have someone else know more about current happenings than we know.
Another issue that this brings with it is the fact that not all *news* is factual; some is intentionally delivered as factual simply to sell the new meme of the moment. By the time that reaches me, it has been thoroughly discussed and/or debunked and replaced by one or more new memes. Imagine how tough it is to catch up when you not only have to catch-up but also sort out what to pay attention to and what to ignore. Unfortunately, once we’ve seen or heard something, whether or not it proves to be true, that has left an image in our mind’s eye that we’ll not soon be rid of.
We now face the possibility, regularly, of being targeted by fake news some of that innocent but much of it intentional. Fake news is defined in my mind as completely false or mostly false with elements of truth to make it believable. This has always been somewhat an issue stemming, I guess, from the days of the carny huckster who sold us on what we’ve dearly ‘needed’ but never thought possible to find.
Some of us believe anything and everything we read in a news publication or see/hear in a newscast no matter the media employed; some of us believe most of it; some of us believe some of it, and a few of us refuse to believe any of it. Not only are we deluged as if standing in front of that firehose, but we become at least partial believers simply given the repetitiveness of the message.
With that as a backdrop, is there any question as to why we have become political junkies and/or skeptics. This new breed of politician, the Trump breed, is likely here to stay. The old breed may well almost totally disappear in another decade or two. And, our skepticism may well have so corrupted us to things newsworthy and/or political that we’ll have become a nation of intentional ignorers. You likely see them every day. They are usually those of a generation or two or three behind us, and they are glued to their communications device.
That new generation/those new generations may well have lost that faith in people that we carry with us or at least used to carry with us. Those who would’ve been heroes in another era become those damned by faint praise today. Imagine the degradation of trust that will have evolved over two or three generations from now…if we continue on this downhill path to which we’ve become accustomed.
I submit that we are already witnessing this phenomenon and that we see it on display when we look at the 5-25 age group today. Those are people who did not have the advantage that many of us bring to the table today. We grew up in an entirely different time. We know what truth is and isn’t for the most part. If it is ‘too good to be true’ it most likely isn’t true, or at least not completely true. At the rate we’re going, that ability to discern degrees of truth on-the-fly will have been lost completely.
Solutions? I have none other than to keep my skepticism handy and to be as discerning as I can possibly be for those ‘human nature’ clues that are so helpful in determining veracity or lack thereof.