Archive for November, 2016

Getting Our Priorities Straight

The world is awash in information but by traditional definitions little of it is actually news. Online sources now prioritize items that produce clicks over those that inform. We live in a world where the headline; Kylie Jenner changes her hair color and other news, is given as much weight as; Obama signs order for new pay rules to be effective December 1. This was vividly evident when searching for more coverage the morning after it was revealed that the new salaried employees pay rules, due to be implemented in December, were halted by a court injunction. A significant number of people have been expending a great deal of time, money and energy making sure their businesses would be ready for the changes, only to have the plug pulled in the eleventh hour.  Likewise, employees have already been told of new work arrangements that would be altering their lives and budgets. Logically those directly affected need to know if this is permanent and if not, when might the rules be modified or replaced.

Knowing that this was an event that affected millions of people and thousands of businesses, it would be reasonable to assume that it would get top billing on any news feed. Pulling up the MSN news page at 9 am on the morning before Thanksgiving (the day after the late day court decision) produced no prominent mention on the main page. Google news also failed to include it among any of their major headline categories. Yahoo news would not even have been worth checking because it has become dominated by sponsored click through pieces and celebrity minutia. By mid-day MSN and Google got on board with Google news including it in the second group of main stories. MSN did not make it a main headline but did include one article far down the page, below such breaking news as … Kanye’s hospitalization could lead to hefty insurance payout … Ellen DeGeneres Gets Emotional Receiving Presidential Medal of Freedom … Cat rescued after stuck on pole for 9 days … The Gosselins: 10 years later and 13 of the Best Selling Red Lipsticks of All Time. These and an amazing number of other items were featured ahead of providing information to employees and business owners who either counted on or were concerned about what is now not going into affect December 1. Attempting to confine your browsing to so called “hard news” sources doesn’t make it any easier. The unabashed bias displayed during the recent Presidential campaign has awakened those seeking clean facts to the reality that what they read will likely be influenced by a dose of personal opinion and institutional activism.

 Obviously this isn’t all the Medias responsibility as they only publish what the consumer responds to. An obsession with celebrities, reality TV, social media and the latest cell phone app has made it possible for those in power to treat us like fussy infants who can easily be distracted from the unpleasant by jangling a metaphorical set of cars keys. Getting our priorities straight can lead to informed citizens and informed citizens make better choices. Burying important issues under a pile of fluff and noise is not in anyone’s best interest.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 24, 2016 at 1:09 PM

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Decision 2016 … Thanks for Nothing

This is really what it’s come to, a vast country filled with talented people and we can’t come up with two more dignified, more personable, less juvenile and less corrupt people than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? Our insular two-party system will keep many disgusted citizens on the sidelines while others are only motivated to vote against the candidate they dislike the most. Comedian Lewis Black once said, “We have a two-party system: The Democratic party, which is a party of no ideas, and the Republican party, which is a party of bad ideas”.  The same could be said of our Presidential combatants, although it’s often hard to tell which is which. We have Donald Trump, the political outsider, who functions so far beyond the boundaries of accepted decency and common sense that he has managed to insult everyone at one time or another. He is opposed by Hillary Clinton, the consummate insider, someone so deeply entrenched in the political power structure that she couldn’t find outside with a tracking dog and a GPS.  

 To make the situation worse, voters are under a media and celebrity assault that has abandoned any pretense of dispensing unbiased information in favor of becoming unrepentant partisan cheerleaders. The incredible self-absorption required to assume you have the right to shame others over their voting choice is unprecedented and dangerous to the process. We are approaching the tipping point where people tune out media sources that have abandoned their journalistic integrity and celebrities who think everyone respects their political opinions. The residents of flyover country can only be talked down to for so long before they start to suspect that nervous people in high places are just protecting their turf. An electorate that is being asked to choose between two historically unpopular candidates while being badgered by voices who have nothing in common with their life issues, can lead to extreme outcomes. Remember that the elitists (and pollsters) of Europe were confident that they knew how the Brexit vote would go. Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - November 4, 2016 at 12:52 PM

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