Basking in the News Cycle

Good morning to you, gentle reader.  While you were sleeping, Greek election results came in and seem to point to a political party that will continue on the road mapped out by Brussels and Berlin, but they will still need to form a coalition to govern.  Russia is sending extra forces to its military base in Syria, ostensibly to protect Russian citizens and interests there. No one seems to have any idea about what is going on in Egypt, after yesterday’s presidential elections and quasi-coup by the military.  And Mr. Obama is  playing golf in Cabo  attending a G20 summit in Mexico.

Enjoying your Monday, yet?

The reason Monday morning news reports are often so shocking to our senses, I suspect, is the fact that so many people go into news withdrawal over the weekend, and news outlets are often happy to oblige in this regard, particularly on television. The phenomenon of the Friday news cycle, where journalists know they have to get headlines to readers before the weekend hits, means that oftentimes weekend news broadcasts are full of fluffy reports with no real value, for over 48 hours. We are presented with “news” about contradicting scientific studies claiming that milk – or fish oil or wheat germ or pop tarts – is good for you AND will give you cancer, or we have to sit through an interview with the owner of the world’s largest pet gila monster.

Meantime, the rest of the world is still going through upheaval, which does not stop simply because it is after 5:00 pm on a Friday on the East Coast of the United States. Smart people know this, of course, but it is difficult to find a news outlet in the (allegedly) mainstream American media to provide this type of information. Fortunately, for those who primarily rely on new and social media for their news headlines and reports, this kind of mush-for-brains attitude toward the American news consumer can be easily circumvented.

One way to look at world events is how London Mayor Boris Johnson does, in part, in a piece published today by The Telegraph looking at what the future holds for Greece.  Mr. Johnson treats some of the same themes I did in yesterday’s blog post, but of course does so rather better than I did. He maintains that the fallacy underlying modern thought, and which is implicit in reporting on Greece, for example, is the notion that progress is inevitable.  Additionally, he points out that “history teaches us that the tide can suddenly and inexplicably go out, and that things can lurch backwards into darkness and squalor and appalling violence.” We can already see this process well-underway in Syria, for example.

Therefore I challenge the reader to consider whether, rather than basking in the sun all weekend like the aforementioned gila monster, it might not be a good idea to do some reading – and viewing, when you can – of events that will affect you and the values which matter to you. That way, come the Monday morning headlines, you will be better-prepared to engage in discussion, debate, and, where necessary, taking action. As Mr. Johnson points out, progress is not inevitable, nor is all so-called progress desirable: let us not fall asleep at our posts merely because of an editorial decision made in New York or elsewhere to stop a news cycle.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Basking in the News Cycle

  1. mts

    Before the internet, there was shortwave radio. After internet, those same outlets have streaming broadcasts (sometimes with video too), as well as an archive of podcasts; easier than waiting for a certain time to get the show on a strong signal on one of the handful of frequencies. Amazing with 24 hour cable news, there’s less news than when it was 30 minutes a day.

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