Rejecting Urgency

Filed under: — Patrick @ 9:23 pm on

I have been hearing a lot of discussion about lessons to be learned from the reactions of people in Boston, about leaders stepping up and doing the right thing, etc. Most of it, quite honestly is the same thing we hear in any disaster, natural or man-made, about how communities pull together. It is good to hear, but quite frankly sounds more and more like the standard new sound bite.

What I am not hearing are comments on the lack of leadership in news media and beyond, in their handling of this. The rush to be first, the belief that there is value in urgency and novelty, has not only compromised journalistic integrity, not just traumatized a family that is struggling with a missing son, but continues to distract people from the real work of reflecting on larger questions and issues at play. By focusing on the details that will in the long run be unimportant, of who did this, of which camera captured his image, of what sort of car he hijacked, and the boat he was hiding in, journalists (and those that follow them on various media) feed into the frenzy of urgency and novelty that exhausts people’s attention. This slathering over up-to-the-minute details consumes people’s attention as they move from news crisis to new crisis, and effectively precludes calm reflection on the deeper questions of why these acts happen, whether they are fundamentally different from natural disasters, and how our own reactions to them defines who we are and what sort of society we want to live in.

I can only say: reject urgency. Ignore breaking news and do not bother to engage until the brouhaha dies down and it is time for the substantive discussion. You won’t miss anything important.

Comments (0)

Warning: include(/var/www/siteblog/SiteBlog_bundle/wp-comments.php) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /var/www/siteblog/blogs/inlococogitatus.ludicrum.org/index.php on line 53

Warning: include() [function.include]: Failed opening '/var/www/siteblog/SiteBlog_bundle/wp-comments.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/php:/usr/share/pear') in /var/www/siteblog/blogs/inlococogitatus.ludicrum.org/index.php on line 53