I Tweet, Therefore I Am

With acknowledgement to Rene Descartes, a seventeenth century French philosopher, I am borrowing this title phrasing from one of his original works entitled The Principles of Philosophy.  In Latin you may say, “cogito ergo sum,” but not many people speak Latin any more.  In English, it means “I think, therefore I am.”  But strangely enough, we now have a “so-called President” in the United States who likes to “Tweet” (not “think”) both day and night, sharing his pithy thoughts with anyone whom may be interested, or just plain curious?  So it appears that he is not really thinking too much about how accurate his tweets may be, but more about how frequently, and most recently, how angry they can be.  

“It must be partly a matter of bad timing.  Mr. Trump came along just as the mainstream media, especially newspapers, were trying to come to terms with the Internet.  Hoary concepts like “objectivity” and “balance” were giving way.  This was a good thing, believe it or not.  Reporters no longer had to pretend that after spending weeks or months on a story, they had emerged with no opinion about it.   The word ‘I’ could now be used to refer to oneself, rather than ‘a reporter.’   Mr. Trump, already dislikable, became the first test case of the new mindset (Kingsley, NY Times, 4/30).”

“With his use of Twitter as a sort of brain dump, exposing his thinking to the world at all hours of the day and night, he has made social media almost a part of our constitutional system (Kingsley).”

Ray Myers

P.S.  Thanks for all the birthday wishes over the weekend.

Trump is the Darling of the Heartland – Changing the Media Landscape

Trump knew where his message would have the most appeal, Heartland, U.S.A.  And please don’t try to sell subscriptions to the “New York Times” or “Washington Post” of you are traveling there.  No one is buying anyway.  Now these media mainstay publications, along with others, have been looking for an Internet age strategy, but “nobody has found it.”  Why browse through a newspaper when you can just “order up” the news you want to read online and forget about the rest.  That seems to be what most of middle America has been doing this election year.  Just get on the Internet and find something you like (it takes so long to read those old print news articles anyway).

I guess the proof is in the fact that he won the Presidential election with the overwhelming support of midwestern Americans.  They elected a man who has rarely traveled west of the Hudson River his entire life (well, okay, New Jersey and Philadelphia to broaden his world view :).  One adventuresome online news service based in New York City, ProPublica, is now trying to establish some Midwest roots.  It is expanding into Illinois with a 10-person editorial team – laudable to be sure, but it can’t begin to make up for vibrant local papers with dozens of beat reporters, statehouse bureaus and investigative teams.  Even with a move to the Midwest, “many in the news media believe that news organizations must rebuild relationships of trust with citizens, even Trump supporters.”  Now if only I am able to figure out how that trust was lost?  Is that really what happened?

So the suggested strategy is for the Democratic Party to change the media landscape (good luck with that).  I think in most cases, people will read what reinforces or confirms their perspectives on the world in general.  To learn more about your world takes more than just reading your favorite newspapers or listening to your favorite newscasts.

Ray Myers

All the News That’s Fit to “Media-ate”

So how do you get you local news these days?  And are you really that interested?  National and international news reporting is becoming increasingly Internet or social media-based.  If you are really connected to your local community the old-fashioned way, you might be getting the local news from neighbors or merchants that you meet on a daily basis.  But I don’t think that is happening so much today.  Local news is being eclipsed by twenty-four house news cycles on television and the Internet.  Our first stop in finding out what is happening in our communities seems to be our favorite media news outlet, but your local news will not be the headline stories.  Remember when local or regional newspapers would land at your doorstep every morning and national and international stories would be updated on the evening news TV broadcasts?

I guess my age is really showing.  Why would any one have to wait?  The world is much “closer” now.  We can get the news any time we want, pretty much anywhere we may be.  But I believe that there is something in print news reporting that often can not be replicated by the media alone.  A well written news story that provides more background and context around current or past events can provide us with deeper understanding of the “news.”  I think that even the reporting about current presidential campaigns in the U.S. is becoming more a story about campaign conduct in general than about the candidates’ speeches or political positions.  Perhaps the media itself is creating this message more than they even realize (or they do realize in “selling” the news).

Maybe it is all about being entertained, and the electronic media knows how to do this best, and eagerly becomes its messenger.  Unfortunately  it takes time to read the newspaper, and if you do, you might find yourself becoming more interested in what is happening nor only around the world, but in your own backyard as well.

Ray Myers