Saturday, October 11, 2014
Lost in the news
Anyone else think that when flu season hits everyone's going to think they have Ebola? Flu is serious enough. People die from it, but nothing like the fatality rate of Ebola. A guy can't even sneeze on a plan without a full hazmat response these days. People are going to freak out.
Then again, maybe they won't. By then some other “one big thing” may be dominating the news cycle.
Remember Ukraine? Fukushima? The time the earth blew up and we all escaped on the giant Space Ark?
It seems the news can only handle a couple of big stories, and only for a little while. Whatever they focus on becomes the most important thing in the world -or so we are led to believe.
Not all that long ago the news was full of nothing but speculation about a certain missing Malaysian airliner. Experts were trotted out and put through their paces. Government spokesmen made serious announcements. It seems just about everyone who could put some sort of spin on the story had their day in the sun. Well, nothing much has come out if, but that story has disappeared almost as completely as the plane.
Most of the time the things that don't dominate the news at the things most folks have to worry about. Little things sneak up on people and become full blown crises before all but a select few notice. While we are focused on Ebola, some other disease could quietly be making inroads and we are not prepared for it. Some economic mess like the derivatives bubble could be bursting and we wouldn't know about it in time to do anything constructive.
Another big mistake people make is to focus on the big stuff and ignore the stuff close to home. They might be in panic about an Ebola outbreak on another continent, but blissfully ignore their diabetes and high blood pressure. They may worry about the stock market, but have no interest in their town's economy. It's easier to worry about social trends in the wider world than to deal with our own kids.
The news all to often is a distraction with little actionable information. Just when our attenion starts to waver from “the big story” they find another story to panic about. We are easily distracted by new and shiny things.
Then there are the old stories that we forget about and probably shouldn't. Fukushima is just as bad as it ever was, but since it's not in the daily news many people think the problem was solved.
I'm still a news junkie, but I take it for what it is -entertainment to sell advertising. It's a good idea to keep one's eyes open on the things around them. That's where most of your real problems will come from. Good thing that those are also the problems people can have at least some influence over.