On June 1, 1980, CNN went live with the first 24/7 cable news channel.
Today, we take for granted that someone is always reporting the news. In fact, depending on how you set notifications on your smartphone, not only is news always to be found on one of several TV channels and web sites, but you can also be notified, instantly, when something happens.
One of the casualties of this movement towards immediacy in the news is attention to the truth, as well as the ability of news providers to engage in telling complicated stories based upon deep research. This all started with CNN.
One consequence of the continuous news cycle is that we now follow news from around the world. It is still the case that, as journalists like to say, “if it bleeds, it leads”. That is, the most dramatic stories get the most attention among journalists, even if they may be rare or unimportant to most people.
This may lead us to feel less secure. While murder rates have gone down, for instance, the attention murder gets in the press makes us feel like we are all constantly in danger. This is true of many other crimes.
Likewise, today, the question of the reliability of our news sources has become a major political issue. It seems like the idea of an objective truth that all parts of the political spectrum can reference is rapidly vanishing.
- If you agree with this statement, what does Walter Cronkite’s warning imply about the state of our democracy?
- Do you think there is any way to address the problem? If so, what? If not, what do you think the consequences will be for the country if the present trend continues?
18, May 2018, Walter Cronkite [Digital photograph]. Retrieved from <azquotes.com>.