The Anchoress, a three-time Weblog Awards finalist and 2007 Catholic Blog Awards Winner (congratulations!) in the Best Political/Social Commentary category (scroll down at link to see it), delivered a cold but necessary shower earlier this evening to those of us who are tempted to exaggerate or overstate the impact New Media is having on most Americans.
I'll bet that a lot of us can relay similar stories to the ones she referred to in her very perceptive post ("Good news leaks past the embargo on good news…"; links that contradict the Old Media-driven beliefs described and bolds/italics were included in her original):
Unfortunately, it is still true that until a new president is installed in the WH, preferably one with a D after the name, only the downsides are newsworthy, and that holds true in every subject. Every subject. My elderly family members are convinced that everything, everywhere, is going to hell, and they are fretful and terrified. They think everyone is out of work, the economy is in a recession, the war in Iraq is lost and there are no real terrorist threats - that’s just made-up stuff. They’re sure America is dying. They are sure the world is headed for famine. They are depressed and do not want to send out Christmas cards, because how can you do that when so much is bad in the world?
If you ask them to look around and wonder how people are buying tiny houses in Queens for a million dollars - while everyone is working, their neighbors are expanding their homes, new businesses are being constructed - if you point out that the the stores and restaurants are crowded - if you ask them how it is that France and Germany have elected America-friendly leaders who are making it a point to work with the unanimously hated President Bush …it does not compute; everything is bad. “All I know,” they say, “is what I hear, and it sounds like the world is going to come to an end soon, because how can it keep going? There is going to be a depression and nuclear war! The oceans are going to cover the whole coast! Everything is going to be lost! Little children are being allowed to get sick and die! Here! In America!” And of course, “everything about Iraq is bad. There is nothing good.”
All they know, you see, is what they hear.
Her identification of the elderly as being particularly vulnerable to Old Media's selective reporting is important to grasp, as the elderly vote in greater numbers than other age groups.
Perhaps there should be an active campaign to promote fair-and-balanced Fox News, talk radio, and access to the expected-to-be-free online version of Wall Street Journal in retirement communities, assisted living centers, and nursing homes.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.