What pisses me off about...the 24 Hour News Cycle

In a phrase: It obviates your need to think.  It encourages you to simply react.

I'm reading this great book by Andy Hunt called, Pragmatic Thinking and Learning.  A key thesis in Chapter 5 is "Think, Don't React".  Reaction is emotional, and involves the fear-based lower brainstem, engaging in stuff like "Fight or Flight," Territorialism, Hissing at problems.  If you've read my blog from years past, I've done plenty of hissing at a problem.

My assertion is this: There's a certain speed at which the human mind can absorb and process events.  With the 24 hour news cycle, we surpass that mark and enter a land where Rachel Maddow and Rush Limbaugh compete with one another for the next superlative villification of another thinking, breathing human being, alternately lionizing their own cause and demonizing their opponent.  Reaction breeds reaction, leading to escalation.

It's a national Jerry Springer episode, and I'm glad I'm no longer exposed to it.  I consume news the same way I consume email: Morning, at noon, and in the evening before bed.  I discuss it with my wife, whose opinion I value, and with my colleagues whose differing opinions and socio-economic values I also respect.  That's humanity, practiced by the Athenians in the agora down to today in Egypt, where they're trying to formulate their new government.

Radicals sitting alone watching MSNBC and Fox News in their bomb shelters will ruin America.  People expressing their opinion in trust of their fellow human beings just might save it.


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