More Thoughts on News
Fri 8/15/08 4:12 PM
If I really want news I go to Wikipedia (no, really, I do). It tends to be more complete, with full context, relevant maps, footnotes and sources. If there is substantial disagreement the talk page will fill you in on what those issues are pretty quickly. When something seems important I might follow it every day, otherwise I may check once or twice a week. However, I am still not really sure what to do with it. Does it really make me better informed? What difference does it make? A year ago Hugo Chavez tried to change the constitution and abolish term limits. It seemed important at the time, but I have not really thought about it since. Was it really important to know about this? Probably, but I am not sure why. I also periodically check CNN.com and MSNBC.com to find out what most Americans are being distracted by. Hearsay is a big source for me. My wife sometimes listens to NPR and I get updates from her. If something is interesting I may even check the web site. I see the headlines on the newspapers as I walk by them. Occasionally I will read the first paragraph to see if I should follow up on the internet later. It varies from local town papers, the Boston papers and occasionally The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post. My mother watches FOX News and occasionally passes along their stupidity. And then there is that big widescreen TV over my desk downtown so I am up to date on all the latest medals for team badminton and synchronized diving. I used to read Die Zeit, but it did not seem worth the effort. BBC and Reuters occasionally. They don’t really seem all that different to me. Yet none of this gives me any sense of being well informed. In fact, it often seems like a complete waste of time.