Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The price of information...

You have to wonder what kind of price we are paying for the ability to read or hear about the news minutes after it happens. Perhaps even seconds after it happens or even watch as it happens in some cases.

Back in the day, and that could be as recently as the 1980's to an extent, ignorance quite possibly may have been bliss. We are now in what is sometimes called "the information age" and many of the little details that would have never even been a blip on the radar 20 or more years ago is now front page news. And news organizations are trying their best to "one-up" the competition with no subject being taboo.

Here in the United States, the media likes nothing more than to dig up dirt on U. S. officials and their actions. Military or otherwise. Any little thing that comes out of a congressman's mouth gets out into the public. And now that we have these wonderful weblogs at our disposal, we don't have to wait for Tom Brokaw or Dan Rather to tell us what the news is at 5:30 on the nightly world news. Citizen journalism is now a buzz word. We can break the news ourselves if we like.

This really affects politics more than anything, but that's a big deal right now. When we have presidential elections that last weeks because they are so close that we have to recount the votes, that's stuff that can change the world.

But the fact of the matter is that we used to not hear about half of the things our government is doing and now you have to wonder about what it is that we don't actually get to hear about now. Back in the day we were all happy and ignorant of the craziness that was going on in the country and the world. Now Piccu, myself and all of our friends talk about politics and news in the world all of the time.

It used to be that during a war, we would hear about what happened during a large battle and perhaps a rough count of any casualties. Now we know how many of the enemy were killed and the name, rank, hometown and names and ages of all family members of each American soldier that dies each day. And that right there can change the way the public views a war.

Reading that two American soldiers were killed during combat can isn't nearly as painful as hearing that John Doe from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, father of two was killed along with Jane Doe of Fort Campbell, Ky. Or worse, having internet video of terrorists severing the head of an American soldier.

The news media sometimes used to somewhat protect the public from things that it should see or read. Now if it bleeds it leads as the saying goes.

You have to wonder if things really went smoothly before the internet and several 24 hour news stations on cable TV. Before the general public had too much "need to know" information.

But then again, those of us who keep up with the news chastise those that do not and chose to be ignorant.

I guess the question is, does the general public really need to have access to all of the information that is available in this information age?


Orelinde_03 said...

I think that technology is both a help and a hinderence. Yes, we should be kept abreast of what is going on in the world, and what is happening to our people fighting overseas.

But I think we are being inindated with too much information. Instead of making people aware of what is going on, the means of getting this information is: (a) dividing our nation to great extents, (b)scaring young children who see and hear news without their parents filtering what they are privvy to, (c) not giving families who have loved ones overseas privacy on identities, (d) not letting our people overseas feel the love of our support as they get feedback on how we react to what is going on.

Travis said...

More information allows for more spinning on both sides of the political aisle. More spinning leads to harder stances. Harder stances lead to more division.

Information is great. Too much information is not. ABC practically celebrated the day the US received news of its 1000th casualty in the Iraq War. By celebrated I mean they literally counted down to the day number 1000 died. That's borderline disgusting.

We know a lot, but how come we never hear GOOD news out of Iraq. When was the last time Charles Gibson or Bryan Williams started the news by saying, "Good news tonight in Iraq. A major tactical victory/political advancement/etc."

Maybe when Zarqawi died. But that was quickly replaced with "Was he murdered" and "Who will take his place?"

Orelinde_03 said...

I just want to go on the record of saying you do not have to 'support' our fighting overseas. It is our right to voice if we want to have people fighting in a war or not.

But I do think we should support OUR people regardless....as they are PEOPLE. And I agree WITH Travis. When was the last time we heard some positive news out of Iraq? Then again, bad news makes for good press. And that's sad.

Piccu said...

The war in Iraq is not popular among at least half the country and we all know that bad news and tragedy "sell." Those are the two main reasons you see no good news.

If there is any good news coming out of Iraq, you will have to watch Fox, but it seems that even they do not show much good news.