2017 News Consumption

I don’t know about you, but consuming news suddenly feels like a full-time job and a contact sport. Gone are the days when you could just open a few articles and casually scan for the information that you were looking for. Now, it seems like everyone is reporting slightly different things. Or, if multiple outlets are reporting the same thing, then the White House is denying it. How are we supposed to ever know what is true anymore?

Yesterday the story broke that Trump had told classified information to members of the Russian government who had visited the White House. At first, I wanted to dismiss this story. Not because I don’t believe the Washington Post to be a respectable news outlet, but because that seemed too far fetched to be true, even in the current time. How could a president be stupid enough to give away secrets to foreign leaders?

Which brought me to turn on CNN to see if they could offer some perspective outside of the article that the Post had written. Erin Burnett had five or six different people in little boxes offering their own opinions about what was happening. Their conversation was then interrupted by a statement by H.R. McMaster, who seemed to flatly deny the story. But then the talking box heads went about parceling out his statement and they seemed to agree that he was trying to play word games. He was saying that the Post story was inaccurate because it said specific things about methods, but the story didn’t actually mention anything about methods? I was watching and I still don’t entirely understand.

When did the truth become so confusing that reading an article and 15 minutes of CNN wasn’t enough to at least understand the basis of breaking news? How can we be expected to do this for each breaking news story, when it seems like an insane news story breaks at least once a day? Is there a way to live in this universe and not become totally exhausted?

Someday all of this will be over. Someday maybe we won’t flinch when ‘Breaking News’ alerts flash on our phones. Someday we won’t expect everyday to bring some new disaster. Bu, right now, this is where we are. And its not enough to just casually follow the news. Once upon a time, reading an article was a great way to stay informed. Now only reading one article guarantees at least some confusion, a little paranoia and a question about what it is the truth.