Ah Sunday mornings and the Sunday newspapers. Such a tradition. I love reading the New York Times and the Orlando Sentinel. I have an Apple Newsfeed supplying me with bits from sources like NPR or Vanity Fair.
I just don’t remember my stomach clinching when I used to read the papers prior to the pandemic. (Boy that reference dates me. I now read everything digitally.) Perhaps it did. The political strife certainly existed then. Maybe it has been since November 4, 2016. I swore off the news following the last presidential election, choosing instead to stay in bed with the covers pulled over my head.
Ever since, anxiety is my morning companion as I peruse the papers. It’s enough to make me swear off the activity all together. Reading my British murder mysteries or book club novels does not elicit the same degree of discomfort. My ACORN channel offerings, while absorbing, don’t leave me running to the bathroom.
So what do I do? I tried watching SGN–John Krasinski’s delightful Some Good News Youtube series–but then he sold it to CBS in May. I am a news consumer. I believe in consensus journalism. I believe in science. I do want to know what is going on with my planet and whether scientists and doctors are collaborating to create a vaccine for the pandemic. But it causes me considerable consternation when consensus deniers pose unauthenticated theories they have retrieved from less than reliable sources. My trusted sources are dismissed as fake news. And there is no way to debate conspiracy theorists who speak with such authority saying things like, “Trust me, Hillary Clinton will find her way on the ballot in November.” Or “Dr. Fauci is in the pocket of Big Pharma. “
CBS Sunday Morning featured Ted Koppel’s interviews with voters in America’s heartland. Koppel asked his interviewees where they first heard the president had Covid-19. “Social media, probably Facebook,” was a consistent reply.
There is a commentator named Ben Shapiro who is very popular among conservatives. He has garnered 51.4 million interactions in the last 30 days on his Facebook page. That is more than five times as many as The New York Times. And it’s more than CBS, CNN, NBC, ABC combined.”
My husband and I have a survey research business. Providing our clients with accurate data is fundamental to our business. We have been the victims of “kill the messenger” campaigns after delivering bad news, i.e. the truth, to aspiring office holders. So it really bugs me when unsubstantiated theories are offered up as the truth.
Maybe I’ll just blame all this on the mythical monster trolls and spammers planting rumors and ridiculous theories on social media sites. I’d rather believe that than think people I care about actually promote conspiracies such as the following:
“Covid-19 is a hoax designed to deflect attention from a Satan-worshipping pedophile ring operated by Hillary Clinton and liberal elites.”
Help! I want my news back.