Many organizations and people cover things I have no interest in hearing. Many others use breaking news in ways I would not. In the car the other day, the woman on the radio said something something about Kim Kardashian something something this is getting juicy. I changed the station.
Breaking news arrived in my email inbox from the Denver Post: 2012 Legislative Session due to start. That's breaking news? Hasn't that, like, been scheduled for a while? Doesn't it happen, like, every year? Breaking news, snow is falling.
Of course, there's a lot of breaking news around sports scores. Breaking news: Alabama Wins! Breaking news: Tebow upsets the Steelers.
Poll: 43% say Tim Tebow is winning by Divine Intervention, USA Today.
Don't know where the rest of the Broncos were at the time. Super Tebow apparently did it all as the hapless Steelers were flummoxed by the Tebow deity.
I have Google desktop running on my machines so I can see what is the news. Now here's a bit of horror: red wine researcher published false data. That's disappointing in a few ways. One, the wine industry doesn't need this sort of news in troubled economic times. Even now, there are probably millions of people uncorking their merlots and pinot noirs and pouring them, swearing to never drink red wine again. For those of us drinking because we like the flavor, this could be good news as demand plummets and wine prices fall.
Breaking news: wine prices fall!
More seriously, false scientific data undermines science. Science is already taking a lot of hits from people making up their own idea of scientific claims. Then the fount of information and misinformation known as the Intertubes presents further confusion as a false claim is made is then circulated, gaining legitimacy through repetition. It's no truer than when it was first made up, but people become confused about the truth.
Witness the build-up to the invasion of Iraq. Judith Miller quoted unnamed sources and VP Cheney went on Sunday talk shows and said, even the liberal scoundrels at the New York Times knows Saddam has WMD, they put it in their paper, so you know it must be true. This was pointed out by the Ombudsman, long after the fact, when he apologized for the New York Times' role in the build-up.
Was Saddam involved in 9/11? You can read all over the place that he wasn't, and while Dick Cheney sometimes said otherwise, President Bush said, no, he wasn't, and we never said that. But in articles about the end of the Iraq war and the 'troop withdrawals', people wrote in comments that the Iraqi people could only blame themselves for the war because they started it by attacking us on 9/11.
What about job creation? Was Mitt Romney a job creator or a job destroyer? Is Barack Obama the worse President in the history of the world when it comes to creating jobs? Do people really believe that it's that simple? Polit-fact, one of those places that parse the words to vet the truth, gives him one Pinnochio or a pants on fire because he cherry picks his information, pointing out that Mitt compares his whole four years against Mr Obama's first three, including the month he was sworn in. If you compare Mr Romney's first three years, yada yada yada.
Witness, too, climate-gate, the release of the purloined emails. By releasing selections, doubt was sowed, and then confusion, and the idea that 'most scientists remain unconvinced that there is global warming' found new strength and seeds of doubt were sown anew.
Don't you love how we gate everything now? I suspect the false red wine data could become known as wine-gate.
Breaking news: time to make a cup of coffee.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com