Trying To Survive in the Endless Major Breaking News Cycle, have you had enough yet? Are you finally, like hundreds-of-millions of people around the world, at the end of your rope? I am of course, talking about the relentless onslaught of news — the real and fake news. Is our 24×7 news cycle too much of a good thing?

Turn on the TV, log onto Facebook or Twitter and you’re immediately and totally overwhelmed with news — angry, hysterical words, images, gif’s and video clips screaming at you that something HUGE and earth-shattering happened overnight and, you NEED to know about it…NOW!

What did Trump tweet at 3am that has half the world in (alleged) turmoil? What face did Hillary Clinton supposedly make that has Conservatives worked into a raging lather? What exactly did a Kardashian do this time, that you simply MUST know about?

Liam Stack authored a great piece in the New York Times that sums it up nicely:

Trying Not to Drown in a Flood of Major Breaking News

What a year the last few days have been, huh?

This is news in the era of President Trump. It slaps you awake, follows you around all day, intrudes on your conversations, interrupts your dinner, whispers as you try to sleep.

It has been coming at a relentless pace. From a hundred directions at once. Breaking news alerts on your phone. Memes shared on Facebook. Angry tweets from your friends (or the president).

And cable news? Let’s just say there have been a lot of split screens and a lot of yelling.


Read Liam’s full article here.

Mr. Stack makes a very good point and the headline of the article is right on the mark: people are literally trying not to drown in a flood of ‘major breaking news.’

With the advent of the 24×7 news cycle, we lost something very valuable: peace and quiet. Back in the day when the news aired at set times, like 12pm, 6pm and 11pm, we had a break in which we could focus on our daily lives. As CNN and subsequent followers came onto the scene, news, whether its important or not, has become non-stop.

At first, “news alerts” were few and far between, because it had to be something really big for the news channels to declare it “breaking news.” With CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and the rest trying to grab as many viewers as possible (so they can charge more for advertising), all that has changed. Today, we are subjected to so many “breaking news” alerts, that it would appear that the world is literally on the verge of destruction at any given moment.

So what does all this mean?

What all this means is that “the boy who cried Wolf” has become a formal part of the news media’s standard operating procedure. If CNN declares “we now have breaking news….” then FOX News and the others are going to follow suit — what 24×7 news channel wants to be the last one out of the gate?

When things, such as the news, are purposely morphed into something chaotic, helter-skelter and turbulent, it takes on a life of its own — it becomes a beast that needs constant feeding and that is exactly what has happened. News has ceased to be about unbiased, honest reporting on real events that warrant our attention and instead, has become a corporate beast-for-profit.

Whether the news media intended this to happen is the question. By distorting and sensationalizing even the most trivial of issues and events, the beast they’ve created now requires non-stop feeding — to satisfy this need to feed the beast, the news is no longer reported as it happens, but is instead, created as a kind of distorted fuel for the corporate monstrosity.

Can we reign-in the news media? Should we? Some argue that a totally unrestricted news media is needed to keep checks and balances on government and big business. But, who will keep checks and balances on the news media, which itself is now a profit-centered corporate entity?

I fear that the news media, now conjoined with our pop-culture centric entertainment media and our online social media, has become a dangerous mutation that is causing direct harm to our mental health and national well-being. How can we have lasting hope and positivity, if the news media is constantly ‘crying wolf’ over every insignificant tweet, comment, look or gesture being made?  How can we hope to truly heal the country, if we’re always being led to believe that our world is in crisis?



About Liam Stack:
Liam Stack covers breaking news and social and political issues for the New York Times express desk. An Arabic speaker, he worked for seven years as a Middle East correspondent, covering authoritarianism and revolution in the Arab world.  Read more from Liam Stack and The New York Times.

*Scrolling graphic is courtesy of The New York Times and appeared in Liam Stack’s article.


Source for quoted text of New York Times article: Trying Not to Drown in a Flood of Major Breaking News – The New York Times