Over the past 160 years the speed of communication and its impact has increased exponentially. In 1854, it would take weeks for news of an event happening in New York City to reach the west coast of America. By the end of the civil war we had reduced that time to hours with the aid of a telegraph, but it was still measured in a significant number days for the average citizen since it had to be published in the newspaper and distributed.
Now we know about a school shooting in Spokane almost as quickly as the local police, and we can follow the details of this hostage situation, or terror event while it occurs. We have reached a point in technology where the time for rational thought and reflection has been eliminated and pure emotional response becomes the norm.
One hundred years, or even 50 years ago, it was the role of the editor to determine what was worthy of being classified as news and how to structure the story to hopefully support a logical understanding. Today we see that the communication industry no longer serves that purpose and is principally focused on volume, (i.e. filling available time), and perhaps supporting some political agenda.
So it now falls to us to make the choices once made for us. We have to absorb the vast amount of information, and somehow make sense of it to reach a logical conclusion. The question is, can we or do we allow others to make those choices as they have historically done? Since we are all receiving the same information at the same time, do we really think the talking heads on the media outlets hold the same insights we’ve always assumed?
As you watch the news, understand you are the adult, not the media. Make good choices in your approach to understanding.