There’s currently a line of popular thinking that disparages younger generations for being hopelessly out-of-the-loop regarding current events. But is that really true?
Because despite complaints that younger people devote less time to “the news” than their elders, that’s NOT really a recent development. The percentage of “time spent reading or listening to the news in 2015” according to the various age demographics, is pretty much the same as it was during the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s, and so on.
The authors of winnowing Op-Ed screeds and eZine think pieces worry that “young people spend less time listening to news sources than older people,” without considering the fact that that’s ALWAYS been the case. No change. Modern Gen Y and Millennials actually are exposed to MORE current event news than previous generations, but that’s sort of offset by the poor, unreliable quality of the news they are given.
Unreliable. Biased. Pre-agendized. Attempting to prove causation from a correlation, when there isn’t one.
It’s the cherry-picking that decreases the signal-to-noise ratio of most digital media “news.” Everything is slanted toward an ever-increasing number of highly-specific demographics, so most modern news never has to try for “evenly balanced” by aiming their info toward a common denominator; they just pitch what their specific, much smaller targeted-demographic wants to hear.
Formerly, in the days of the Big Three Networks, we faced the problem of hyper-genericism— everything was aimed at everybody, and had to be general enough to score with everybody. These days it’s become the opposite— hyper-specificity, and a thousand different “news” services aimed at keeping their own little niche markets tuned-in by telling them what they expect (and want, and DEMAND) to hear.
Objectivity has gone out of style, and it’s taken much of the former gravitas of our traditional news service with it. Sadly.
So, why do “those” people continue to spew such blatantly-partisan points of view and hyperbolic invective onto the airwaves, angrily attempting to drown out any opposing viewpoint in favor of their own? What’s wrong with “those” people, anyway?
Honestly, I don’t think that “those people” actually exist. Nor do “those OTHER people.” Between you and I, I think there are just “people.”
Just people. Angrily standing on opposite sides of every protest line, or riot scene. Glaring across the aisle at their supposed “enemies.” Writing endless bash pieces for internet media outlets and heaving heavy-handed pronouncements and insults athwart one another based on “who’s standing where” today, or “who has evinced what personal belief” today, or whatever. In fact, the entire root of the problem is deeply entrenched in simple matters of belief, if one pays attention.
All of those people believe they are good, and most try to do what they believe is good. They just have different beliefs.
They also tend to be frightened when dealing with people who don’t look, believe, or act the same way they do. And people who are afraid tend to lash out and behave badly toward whatever it is that makes them afraid. It’s easier to lash out like that when one stays in one’s own group and refuses to consider that those outside of one’s specific group are pretty much just regular people, though they may look, act, or believe differently.
Sadly, there are some people who try to control other people by keeping them afraid, and keeping them apart. Some in the name of national patriotism, others in the name of political punditry, still others in the name of religious piety.
I have a hard time liking that last sort of people. But if we would all just stop being so damned afraid of different people, I suspect all our lives would probably be a lot better.