During the last century, one of the great “innovations” on the horizon was that we would move from a news model that reports twice at night to one of 24 hour, nonstop coverage. This brought about the advent of CNN, which ushered in this new era.
Fast-forward to today, and our news is somewhat worthless. Part of the advantage of the previous model was that our news took time to vet, so that reporters could check through stories and we knew we were most likely getting the real story. The new model doesn’t have time for that, so that instead of vetting the news, we print it, televise it, and then just hope that’s the truth. Otherwise, we print or air a retraction. Sometimes.
News agencies are doing that less and less these days because admitting mistakes is akin to guilt, so quite often, unless there’s outcry, you often hear nothing.
Thus, the moniker of fake news, which only makes the news that much weaker than it used to be before.
But one of the more recent problems our news has started to show is with the news itself. Because of the immediacy of the news these days, we often don’t have time to investigate and just print. Forward just a bit further to where we are, and we’re now literally regurgitating prominent Twitter feeds as actual news stories.
Here’s an example. CNBC reports on president’s Twitter story.
Think about that for a moment. Basically, what has happened is that we’re no longer going after stories, but we’re becoming the agents of anyone with a press release disguised as a Twitter feed. If you read the nightly news these evenings, they’re essentially just showing little graphics of tweets and then waxing philosophically about something really stupid someone might have said.
Today, we have a president announcing government policy by Twitter. Think about that now. And then when someone calls him on his promises he makes in Twitter, he denies ever having said it in the first place, literally calling everyone else liars.
That’s where we are. Welcome to 2019.