Thursday, April 15, 2010

News at The Speed of a Tweet

I don't use Twitter, but from what I know of Twitter it seems to represent a new cultural phenomenon, in that, it encourages those who have trouble putting together a sentence a way to communicate without all the hassle of having to actually pen a thought and use grammar. Little creative thought is necessary to just report random ramblings and opinions can be expressed with little to back them up. However, I suspect something more sinister is happening here.

Twitter also is reflective of how news is handled in our current culture. What amounts to a major news story seems to have a shelf life of only two to four weeks and then...puff; something else comes along to replace it. There are exceptions, of course. Health Insurance reform (not health care reform) was around in the news for months upon months, thanks to a Congress that cares more about getting/staying in power, than about representing the interests of the American public. But, most stories like Tiger Woods, Sandra Bullock, fade into oblivion in no time at all.

I suppose we should be happy that the tabloid nature of media news is not that resilient. After all, the stories do get old in a hurry given the fact that there is little about them that is real news. Those caught up in scandal only have to wait it out and let the "date rape drug" nature of the public consciousness kick in. What does amaze me is that we hear next to nothing about Iraq, Afghanistan and stories that should matter. The whole "sky is falling, we are all doomed" banking industry collapse thing also seems to have gone away. Toyota seems to have weathered it's product liability/public image storm and John Edwards is yesterday's powerful man self-destructs story.

This is disturbing in the sense that we are not only forgetting history, we are forgetting current events. This must explain why Illinois governors continue to follow their predecessors to prison and why celebrities don't seem to understand that text messages can out them and women scorned are not to be trusted not to hire Gloria Alred and appear on Larry King.

The focus on the public is directed by the media content that the public is given. Unfortunately, the media gives us Tiger Woods and does not give us the arcane machinations of our legislators. What this means in the grand scheme of things is that the truth, albeit out there, is getting harder and harder to shift out from the garbage that the 24 hour news cycle feeds us. I need to see less Obama as the Joke signs and more of who in Congress is getting what amount of money form what insurance company/bank/defense contractor. Journalists, like politicians are more concerned with keeping their jobs and careers going than investigating and finding the truth. I get it, but then they should find something else to do with their lives, since freedom of the press was the trade off for integrity in investigative journalism. Without the minions of the media out there digging, we are exposed to all manner of chicanery.

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