As we all know, Trump and company have shut down the federal government, but we still have Super Bowl football and all its hype to entertain us over the next few weeks. I am not sure which is more entertaining over the long run, but we shall find out. But what can I say about all the technological tools involved in informing us about these “winter spectacles.”
Will we all be better informed this time around? Will Twitter be overloaded with barbs and updates about our political and football fanaticisms? I am afraid so. Depending on your personal or political view, are we now headed for a “winter of our discontent” or content for some?
I am sure there are parts of New England where there are many people happier to be watching Tom Brady on the football field than follow all the tweets from the so-called president in the Oval Office, when he is not in Mar-a-Lago.
It’s just too easy. We can write blogs, tweet our anger about the state of affairs in the U.S. today, but do you often wonder about who is really listening or who really cares. It is all so easy and self-satisfying to let people know how angry and upset we are. But at the same time, do we really begin to ask ourselves whether this is all having any impact? Mere words may not be enough.
I think the Bully-in-Charge (a.k.a, the so-called president) really has the upper hand. He uses Twitter to communicate with all his adoring fans, and they really like it. Nothing is really complicated – just listen to my harangues and we will all feel a lot better. He will lead us in making America Great Again. Just read and believe! He is tweeting while “Rome burns,” and very few seem to really care. I am sure we can all write statements in opposition to all this “fake rhetoric” but what have we really accomplished? Many worry that ceaseles statement -writing is sucking us dry.
In a New York Times’ opinion piece on Sunday Tiya Miles wrote: “I doubt my own courage and wonder each day whether I could deploy my body beyond the relative safety of marches approved by permits. But I am certain of this: The change we seek to make won’t be accomplished by words alone.”
Who really were all those crazy white men who came to Charlottesville last weekend? It seems like most of them were NOT from Charlottesville at all. Thanks to the Internet they were able to spread their poisonous rhetoric far and near. And thanks to the Internet we are also able to find out who they are, and hopefully never let this happen again. But I am being overly optimistic, and as long as Trump is in the White House it looks like we are in for a lot more hatred and potentially violent episodes in the days ahead.
So it is not all about cable news stoking Trump’s bigotry and paranoia as I wrote earlier this week. The Internet also still seems a powerful force when used to coalesce and connect those who wish to do others harm. Fortunately, it can also be used to call out those who are hate mongers. “The mostly male crowd that participated in Friday night’s tiki-torch-lit rally did not cover their faces, and they were widely photographed. A Twitter account, @YesYoureRacist, began posting photographs of participants and uncovering their identities. . . The account would soon identify students enrolled at the University of Nevada and Washington State University, leading both of the schools to issue statements condemning racism.(Washington Post, 8/15/17).”
Remember the days of “Make Love, Not War.” A distant memory for many of us who attended college in the sixties. Many now seem to prefer Hate to Love.
Cable news loves Trump. He has been a boon to their ratings over the past two years, and they are not letting go any time soon. So in many ways, we have become what we like to watch, and Trump is the character who has captured our imagination for the right or wrong reasons. It’s all about the ratings, baby!
“The three leading cable news networks rarely discuss any other topic other than Trump during prime-time hours, their highest-rated period of the day. Trump is the focus during daytime hours, too, when cable news actually tends to report some news, rather than merely talking about it . . . But cable’s reliance on Trump is as much a programming strategy as a reflection of the news of the moment. Zucker (Cable News Network President) acknowledges that the audience’s response to all the Trump news on cable validates the approach. Only a few years ago, ‘writers wrote that cable news was irrelevant, that it was being overtaken by the Internet’ he said. ‘The fact is, cable news has never been more relevant or more successful than it has been for the last two years.'”
And I thought the Internet was going to change the world! I guess that watching TV is just more entertaining, and maybe that is what most people want to do during “prime time.” Cable news has become our latest national obsession. Jeff Zucker is very happy!