One can get ulcers by climbing mountains that are molehills. ~ Unknown
In 1897, The New York Times adopted the motto, “All The News That’s Fit to Print.” It was a jab at other newspapers who traded in “yellow” or sensational journalism. Yellow journalism is known for its lack of legitimately researched stories, fear or scandal mongering, and gross exaggerations of the truth.
The twenty-four hour news cycle is yellow journalism on steroids.
Network, cable, radio, and Internet outlets are competing for your advertising dollars. Headlines and sound bites are designed to draw you in. The more lurid and sensational (and accusatory) the story, the higher the ratings and the higher the profits.
Mountains are made out of molehills because air time must be filled.
I remember a “breaking story” about five years ago on all of the major news outlets about an airplane carrying several hundred passengers with stuck landing gear. The plane was going to have to make a “belly landing.” For 20 some minutes or so, the reporters whipped themselves into hysteria as the plane went through emergency landing precautions and the runway was sprayed with foam. The plane was able to land without exploding or breaking apart. The emergency chutes opened and passengers started sliding safely down them. Within seconds of the (relatively) safe landing, the stations broke away and I could literally hear the disappointment in the reporters’ voices that a tragedy was averted.
In our modern times, we are suffering from information overload. Just out of curiosity, I did a quick and dirty review of the headlines and stories on the three Internet news sources that I frequent. According to my unscientific research, 98% of the stuff would be considered “molehills.” Yet people were spewing toxic comments and calling each other horrible things about stuff that really shouldn’t matter (and half of the time, it was obvious that the person hadn’t even bothered reading the story).
And I think this mountain-out-of-molehill-making helps fuel divisive rhetoric that keeps people from coming to the table to actually solve our national problems.
Our mid-century role models weren’t inundated with news 24-hours a day. They obtained most of their news via newspapers and news magazines that researched their stories. They were encouraged to get their news from sources across the political and social spectrum so that they could be better informed on the issues. Perhaps we, as modern retro women, should emulated them and leave sound bite journalism to others.