As I sit here tagging pictures into the night, somewhere north of here Congress is supposed to be voting on this whole fiscal cliff thing. And as I flip back and forth during my uploading sessions to Facebook I’ve noticed a trend this evening. Only those friends who are the most partisan in their politics (either side) are the ones that are ranting unhappily, always unhappily, tonight. Remarkably their rants – no matter what side – sound exactly the same, the word spineless is being thrown around a lot. And I’m thinking, – isn’t that what we want right now, more of do-the-right-thing and less worrying about their spines?
But anyway that’s not really my point. This whole random set of thoughts brought to mind an opt-ed piece I read earlier today that digressed into an anti media rant (love when a media outlet has an anti media rant) but the point being made was how we now consume only the news we want to hear, the news that agrees with us. And that has me thinking.
I’m certainly guilty of that. I don’t “read the paper” and I certainly don’t watch local news. (in this market it’s a joke). I even stopped watching cable news. I get my news from the internet. But you can’t read the internet cover to cover, so you have to pick and choose. You have to click. And by nature people click on the headlines that appeal to them. Headlines that reinforce what it is that they want to hear. The internet allows us to tune out a well rounded view of the issues.
Now granted you can do that in a newspaper too. No one forces you to read the whole thing. But there is something about being presented with a finite amount of manageable information that inspires most people to read the whole thing. They feel lazy if they don’t. Skipping around a daily paper feels like cheating. Skipping around the internet, that is just survival.
So in the new year I’m going to try and be more mindful about what I read. Try to seek out well rounded points of view that consider both sides of issues at hand. I suspect the real trick will be to find those. In this world of SEO, it’s hard for the good guy to make it to the top of the list. In fact maybe that’s where I start.. ignore the front page of the internet. Assume anyone there is keyword loaded for one side or the other. Look deeper, farther down and find journalists, not editors, not opinion holders, not celebrities of any kind – but actual journalist who are writing well researched thoughtful pieces.
Do they still exist?