Monthly Archives: November 2016

How to get halfway decent news

It disgusts me that I have to write this article.  Once upon a time, there was such a thing as journalistic ethics.  Apparently, those died.   Note to aspiring journalists, if you work up an internet news site that is based on facts – only the facts, and every fact you can find and validate – I will happily pay a subscription fee to read it.  I am heartily sick of reading tabloid-quality news.

Sources:

  1. Look at the website link.  If it’s not a .com … just don’t be bothered.  I had two people on my FB list link to news from a .com.co address (the same fake news address) with fake news stories from OPPOSITE sides of the political spectrum.   Clickbait.
  2. You want to read a wide variety of source material, from the best sources you can find.  The Big Dawgs will *not* report things that they don’t want reported, but they generally won’t outright *lie* about what they do report.   They have what is left of their reputations to consider.
  3. Make sure to read at least one news source that comes from a perspective with which you do not agree.
  4. Yes, you’re going to have to read multiple news sites to get some kind of information aggregate.
  5. No, I don’t have any good ideas about how to get all the unreported news.  There’s a lot of it, and I want it as much as you do.  Hey – I want it on a local basis, my local news doesn’t report half of what happens, that I *know* is happening.  Drives me nuts.  Hello aspiring journalists… please get to work!!!!

Reading Comprehension:

  1. Read between the lines.  What’s being implied?  How is this being reported?  Can you determine a slant to the reporting?  Do you *know* that the newsite you’re reading from (including the BigDawgs) has a slant on this issue?  Giant Grain of Salt.
  2. Read the whole article, not just the headline.  “Man Bites Dog” might be “in self-defense” or “because he was insane” or “hot-dog eating contest”… but you won’t know if you don’t read.  Clickbait is.  Read the *whole* article.  The whole.Darn.Thing.
  3. Follow links to original source material.   I don’t know how many times I’ve seen an article that supported my personal worldview and followed the above steps only to hit the source material and find that it was much less inflammatory than the article made it seem.
  4. Understand that there is – or should be – original source material to just about anything.  If the President signs something into law, or makes some sort of proclamation, guess what?  The White House has an official page for that.  We learned this in school.  Read the article’s bibliography!
  5. Watch for those inflammatory bits.  One junior representative making a motion does not equal a “push for penguin rights”.
  6. Patience is a virtue.  We don’t actually know what is happening until it happens – sometimes you have to wait for the cake to bake before you know if it’s chocolate or strawberry.  If someone is reporting that “Bob is building a castle” and Bob is still on the foundation steps and hasn’t indicated what he’s doing … assumptions are being made.  You have to wait and see.  (Very hard in the era of instant news and news as entertainment).

Final Thoughts:

  1. You and I are being manipulated by our news media.  One way or the other, it’s become highly inflammatory.  Everyone is lying – or at least omitting quite a lot of truth.
  2. So, if we are going to respond to the news, we have the responsibility to dig for the truth.  Disseminating falsehood to our friends is not friendship.  Don’t repost, don’t discuss, don’t do ANYTHING until you get to digging.
  3. Let’s make a pact to not be offended by the phrase, “Can you prove that?”  A desire for properly researched source material is good!  And we can all fall victim to sloppy thinking… all of the above is a lot of work.
  4. Just because you don’t like someone, or you don’t like what they say, doesn’t mean that they’re lying.  Same thing goes – prove it.  If *they* can prove what they’re saying… then you have to accept that it’s truth, even if you then immediately act to change it.

 

I’d love other ideas about how to get good news, or non-tabloidy news sites.  Your thoughts?

Overstimulated

Social media and sugar have a lot in common.  They taste good in the first moment, they induce strong cravings, and they make you feel not-so-awesome if you overindulge.  The news channels could be compared to caffeine – they get you excited, then drop you on your head when you run out of the first flush of energy.

Anyone who’s ever seen me on a sweet cup of coffee (or better yet, a frapp) knows that I react very poorly to too much sugar and caffeine!  Likewise, too much social media and news has left me overstimulated and tired.   It generally does, even when we’re not in an election season.   But they’re just as hard to break off from – that source of stimulus protects me, leaves me an armor of busy thoughts, encourages me to think up clever repartee that I’m never going to use… it makes me feel ever so clever, and somehow as if I’m involved in the happenings of the day.

It encourages me to do exactly the opposite of what I am commanded to do, which is NOT to be anxious.

I’ve been looking at myself lately.  Having had a pretty intense experience with the fragrance of Christ, I yeeped off into a corner and hid.  Why did I do that?  What’s up with this crazy girl?

I’m afraid of some of the things I really want.  I’ve always wanted wisdom, but to get wisdom, I have to allow myself peace and quiet and silence and scariest of all, I have to allow myself to look foolish and simple.

I’m frightened of that.  If I’m not the smart girl, who am I?  What’s my identity?

If I have thoughts, and don’t write them down, and forget about them, and someone else writes them down and claims them, do I disappear?

In order to go further along in glorifying God, in showing His light more brightly, I have to be willing to be changed.  I have to be willing to put my “selfness” aside.  Not my real self, which is the odd thing, and very hard to explain.  (This is all very hard to explain).  My inner self, the quiet self?  She’s not going anywhere.  But the outer, chattery self, the one who self-advertises?  She needs to take a break.  I looked at her, and found that most  of what she’s doing is based out of fear.  That’s not on.  My “most authentic self” (blerk) is not that person.  And trying to make myself that person is like pounding espresso in order to stay up late – it doesn’t work in the long term.

But most importantly, I’m getting in the way of God showing through.

I have a lot to sort out.   No, I’m not going away.  I will still post on my usual erratic schedule.  And I’ll still be on FB, because my ministry is to individuals, and if I can’t contact the individuals, I can’t minister to them.  But I’m going to be pulling back a bit.  Letting God come through a bit more.  Listening and responding to Him and then – the hardest part – STOPPING when He hasn’t led me to continue.

It’s going to be hard.  Sugar is addictive, and so is constantly checking in.  Am I here?  Are you?

Just some thoughts.