Thursday, October 21, 2021
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Without freedom of expression and freedom of the press, it will be difficult to successfully promote fraternity between nations, disarmament and a better world order to succeed in our time. This year’s award of the Nobel Peace Prize is therefore firmly anchored in the provisions of Alfred Nobel’s will.
I've been recalling an assignment to Brazil, after the first elected civilian government in 21 years. We were there after the military government relinquished power. Boarded up newspapers and radio stations were being re-opened and reborn. In the cafes and bars there was talk of democracy and the free press. America was a role model. That was before news by flavor, and all that followed the Rupert Murdoch virus.
Friday, October 1, 2021
Approaching two years of pandemic living, humankind is the poorer for it.
"When your negativity bucket is full, it's full!" said the Rat as he threw neighbor Bob off the cliff in the cartoon strip Pearls Before Swine.
We are devolving.
Extraordinary souls have devoted themselves to others, to healing and to the common good, but almost everybody else is worried or angry or both.
We've begun to understand we are a planet of grief, grievances and that pieces do not fit as they did. Life as we knew it is also a victim.
Those things, organizations, structure, mores, routines and all that held us together as a last tendril of civility are gone or are changed, drastically. We find ourselves on the brink emotionally, politically, and as a planet.
Petulance has become our happy face.
Media is the clarion.
Radio, television and social media have morphed story telling and journalism. It's changed reporting and our expectations.
Curated and aggregated information, like all things, was subject to human foibles. That is how racism, male supremacy, cultural bias and the like got baked into normative assumptions. Though overdue and limited, old media was and is, self-correcting.
Now, however, we watch algorithms, products of human reasoning, maturing through data and machine learning, amass power and influence, though unrestrained by idealism, values, faith, principles and standards of decency and civility. It shows.
No one elected the tech titans, yet their profit making platforms are addictive and they bend culture. Old media plays along. The manic pandemic lifestyle wedded us more intensely to our screens. Everything has changed as we live in a feedback loop of discordance. So much of life is like fingernails on a blackboard.
Snark, "gotcha," and the takedown is the code of behavior and modus operandi. There is not enough probing for understanding and there is way too much lunging for the throat.
Correspondents feed their social media streams, and maintain a "following" in addition to the work of being experts on their beat. Time was when only information and fact gathering was the job. Developing sources and contacts takes time, now devoted to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds.
"News by flavor" has sharpened the edges between us. In fact it is only about business, building ratings and selling ads, but the poor fools who consume hours of the stuff end up duped and manipulated.
There is seething pressure building among many. They want to see Democrats unite, and not squander opportunity at a time of peril. Since Reagan, Republicans have tried to undo the Democrat social pact with America.