Consider the last couple weeks a case study in American infomania. Welcome to the viral world of animals kissing; to Snowmageddons, funny dances and two-headed babies; to Kanye spoofs and Jean Claude Van-Damme's "epic split." Welcome, alas, to Flight 370.
This constant whirlwind of coverage and tweeting and posting and sounding off stirs up such an enormous dust cloud that it becomes difficult to stay focused on the actual story. By the time the dust begins to settle, the public is generally on to the next great controversy.
The news is overwhelming and we are not evolutionarily developed to take in this amount of information about that many people suffering. So when it's too much, I'm just going to look at what's right in front of me: my kid, my veggie burger, my guitar.
While news consumption is generally ruled by routine, consumers are customizing how and where they get their information based on lifestyle preferences and how much they value the content. We've identified five distinct segments of the American news consumer.
I believe in the power of social media for spreading news, sharing ideas and having conversations. But for all of us who use social media, it is incumbent upon us to balance speed with common sense and sound judgment.
Serious journalism doesn't get the viewers anymore. Loud music over a waving U.S. flag and flickering lights bring in the audiences. Journalism is now clipped to a sentence that scrolls at the bottom of the screen.
After watching all these pundits talk ad nauseam, I'm ready. I'm ready to take my place at the pundit table. For I've decided I, too, can do this. I can be a pundit and ramble on and on, on just about anything. Go ahead, and try me.
This nearly four-hour documentary by Barak Goodman, a long-time "American Experience" producer and director, is a smear job, though more the death-by-a-thousand-cuts approach than a straight-ahead takedown.
By framing everything as a fight, media encourages all of us to be combative in our interactions. To gain press coverage and political advantage, candidates take the bait. The result of this downward spiral is evident in the divisive politics of today.
All end-of-year lookbacks at the major stories, scandals, dramas and traumas contain one shared ingredient, one bizarre commonality built straight into their media DNA: How insanely fast we forget all about them.
Liz Gilbert said of Italy, "In a world of disorder and disaster and fraud, only artistic excellence is incorruptible." I have pondered her insight for weeks. I keep asking myself the essential question. Is the US headed the way of Italy?