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Sonoma County Gazette
Senior Momentum - A Series of Situations - by Zoe Tummillo

The News Is Like That Lover...

Sep 25, 2017
by Zoë Tummillo, Communications Concepts


...the one you can’t live with or without. News or lover, some would just call it addiction. You might not want to always tune in and hear a same old, same old current issue continuously batted back and forth! (Like beating a rug on a clothesline. Do people still beat rugs on clotheslines?) Then again, you don’t want to miss the rare good stuff like the promise of Rachel Maddow questioningHillary Clinton for a full hour!

It’s been a long time (in my humble opinion) since we had a female commentator/interviewer the quality of Maddow,who intelligently researches, prefaces and structures her incisive questions. She gets thorough answers. In the case of the Hillary Clinton interview (September 14; MSNBC), we got to hear about both “WHAT HAPPENED”(her current book), and“What happened?”– her current dilemma! If you missed it, you might think it worth searching...

Back to that lover you can’t live with or without... Sometimes it’s the way they squeeze the toothpaste tube; sometimes it’s just because. Nevertheless, my news analogy: they both offer fascination, but come with frustrations around the damn nature of the beast, news or lovers!

News delivery paradigms have shifted in fascinating ways; and that’s not news. It is virtually (no pun intended) impossible to evaluate authenticity. In venues such as the Facebook phenomenon, the Twitter idiocy and many entrepreneurial “news”websites now available, newly evolved aficionados develop their own special “news” and send it across the Internet as reality. (It seems the “fact check” sites have also come under scrutiny!) Such factors of news delivery provide astounding responses. I’ve questioned individuals randomly and asked: How and where do you get the News? Answers ranged from singular addictions like “only online!” to such wide-ranging inclusions that they must do nothing else! How do they decide which is fact and which is fiction? Most said they “don’t worry about it.”(Yikes.) For others it depends on who is delivering.“John King is always telling the truth; I can tell!” one enthusiast stated.

Since production and presentation of the news to the consuming public is structured as drama – timed and sorted like just so many lines scripted on a live-performance stage – why would that public see it as anything but a play? “Reading” is hilarious to watch. Readers often lose their place, or stumble over a name or some unfamiliar word; and it can be revealing to notice who can fake it and recover, and who can’t because they’re not invested in the context in the first place.

I confess, I’m a news junkie; I indulge MSNBC, CNN, FOX, Internet, hard copyNew York Times and several elsewheres. The spins are fascinating. Trying to psych out the game is either like watching grass grow or trying to track a hummingbird without going cross-eyed. As far as authenticity goes, I think it’s a crapshoot.

Clearly, my age has a lot to do with how I view today’s news delivery versus 60+ years ago when I was in my 20’s. Was it more authentic then? Or, in retrospect, does it just seem so because there were so few gimmicks for its delivery? I go back and forth. Concern is partly because –in such numerous obscuring formats – identifying authentic news is more important than ever.That concern aligns with others about sheer volume, contrivance and velocity. The assault is no longer just about the content and its origins!

News and that lover...where do they come from, how were they molded, can they be trusted to influence everything from our hearts to our votes?


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