See what I mean. It takes a headline that strange, extreme, and inaccurate to get attention. Americans are that hard to shock today. Yet, we cannot resist gawking at car wrecks. We are drawn to tragedies, warnings, and tirades. So how do “they” get to us? Escalate hate, anger, and fear.
I grew up just outside the Washington D.C. “Loop” in Fairfax, Virginia. Both parents were federal government employees, The Washington Post was our local newspaper. The hyperbole, scandals, and intrigues of people on the “Mall,” on the “Hill,” and at “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” strike weaker chords with me than most; I do not believe in cataclysms.
The un-slakeable, ravenous, yawning, media maws chew, digest, and regurgitate fragments of information into “stunning,” “breaking,” “smoking gun,” headline entertainment; all the “news” they need, to feed the needs of myriad, mewling, business advertisers. The electronic media cloned and mutated The Inquirer to fill the chasm.
The Internet and 24/7 television formats are still only decades old and evolving. Advertisers are still feeling out what pays and does not pay; now they use the “shotgun,” or “grenade” approach to exposure on various media. Eventually, they will refine their choices.
Some people still read newspapers, the original portable news. Paper print space holds the attention of a slowly dwindling population, as electronic media grow towards universal dominance.
It seems the gladiators of news and power are tireless, relentless warriors, bent on victory and domination. The ratio of opinion, analysis, and fortune-telling to factual reports seems to be 50 to 1. The volume of “spin” constantly expands.
The news exposes Americans to more federal government every day this battle goes on; the president does this, the congress does that, the courts intervene.
The political maelstrom over a four-page memo from a congressional committee is the latest example of excess. The media fed us scraps of amplified innuendo, interpretation, and speculation for weeks, raising the virtual tension of the Trump-war drama. Now, dire warnings, threats, and predictions of calamity, revenge, and retribution.
Nothing sells better than the nemesis of anger and hate.