Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How Quickly Things Get Old

Take the Japanese earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster. Why it was only a week ago that it was the top story. News programs, news channels, news junkies all tried to outdo each other in making sure we knew what was going on. Why, it even knocked Charlie Sheen off the top of the news.

Then, alas, along comes the Libyan air strikes, led by France and the US. Suddenly war is big news.

Sure, within a few weeks the newsmen will return to Japan to sum up how things have been going. For a short period the Japanese catastrophes will be back in our consciousness.

Depending, of course, if some other BIG story comes along and has to push it back.

We have become insatiable. Or perhaps the news channels have. I used to be a news junkie. I never wanted to miss Huntley-Brinkley (that was NBC many years ago), Walter Cronkite or the latest issues of Newsweek or Time. I devoured them, filling up on news across the board.

Today I skim the Yahoo! News site a couple times a day, see NBC Nightly News a couple times a week and sometimes look past the first page of the local newspaper. I catch The Daily Show when I can. I never watch CNN, MSNBC or Fox.

Am I well-informed? Not in the least. I am overloaded and tired of the BIG story of the week, day, or hour. I don't know whether we are better off for it all or not. Ignorance about the world is NOT bliss, but I'm not sure a steady diet of hype and over-the-top ADHD reporting is healthy either.

Yes, the BIG stories are often BIG. I just need to mention Egypt, Japan and Libya to illustrate that point. But I am afraid we are losing our sense of perspective.

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