Another day, another 10,000 breathless reports about some comment President Trump did or didn’t say that may or may not be true.
Sure, North Korea is a threat, and we (the public) have no idea if the buildup of Chinese forces on their border is designed to intimidate them or us. I suggest the latter. And, yes, Iran is a key concern, but did you hear that President Trump said something politically incorrect, and even though it may resemble the truth, it may offend someone somewhere, so we need to talk about the potential offense rather than the substance of the comment.
It’s exhausting. It’s like watching a tennis match in fast forward, but the tennis balls are soaked in lighter fluid and the net is on fire, which leads me to the first critical issue.
The virtual anonymity of the Internet has encouraged behavior we would rarely experience in face-to-face encounters. Often, the vitriol is palpable, and it all started with social media platforms. In that arena, the net is on fire and everyone in the audience carries a flamethrower. It’s utter madness. Everyone is both an expert and idiot at once, depending on whose side you're on.
Social media led to increased blog exposure, and the success of blogs led to news sites offering comment sections so they could benefit from the interactions. Once that happened, there was no stopping the insult express.
As a result, I have watched as organizations, encouraged – maybe even emboldened – by the comments, have been transformed, feeding their readership a steady diet of the red meat they want rather than focusing on what’s truly important. It’s not just The Washington Post, New York Times, CNN or MSNBC. Conservative media does the same thing.
As I stated earlier, it’s exhausting, which leads to the second critical issue.
The 24/7 news echo chamber is leading to fatigue, or rather, desensitization. Like The Boy Who Cried Wolf, there is coming a time when something truly important is going to happen, but few will care because they are simply overwhelmed. They’ve heard it all before. Just more of the same.
Social media-style reporting – all Trump, all the time – may be good for ratings and clicks, but in the long run, it’s damaging public discourse and brands.
Those are my thoughts. What say you?