News 24-7 doesn't necessarily mean we know more

7/11/2014

Sometimes I can't help but wonder how we got here.

Sometimes I can't help but wonder how we got here.

By "we," I mean, "us" in the United States.

I'm often fascinated, humored, amazed and appalled at what grabs national attention in this country.

Right now, I am sitting in the office watching SportsCenter with my son, Alek, and it is non-stop coverage on where LeBron James will play basketball for the next few years.

I admit I'm interested. You could argue that the World Cup is the biggest sporting event going on now, and it is in just about every other country, but the United States.

ESPN has too many reporters to count stationed in various cities around the country, as well as at least a half-dozen "experts" in the studio talking about James' next team.

All they can do is guess, speculate and give their opinions on what's going to happen.

It's all just sports gossip, but then again when you have 24 hours to fill every day of the week, gossip and opinion is what you get a lot of the time — just as the 24 hour news networks.

These days anyone who talks loud enough and acts like they know what they are talking about passes as an expert.

I don't watch the 24-hour news channels because I would have to do so while sitting at a computer so I could fact check everything they say.

It may sound obvious, but that's why newspapers are better.

Yes, papers have opinions and can be biased, but at least newspapers devote pages to these biases and label them opinion pages.

There is so much information available today it takes real patience to weed through it all and separate fact from fiction.

Case-in-point, the float in the Norfolk Fourth of July parade.

The float was aimed at President Obama.

Some said it was racist, some said it was taking a jab at the president.

Later it came out the intent was to say he was not doing anything to help our veterans.

My first thought when I heard about it was that why can't there be a community event without someone using it as a forum for their political views.

When I heard the float was intended to make a statement about the Veterans' Administration's problem under Obama's watch, I wondered if this float has been in the parade for decades because that's how long the VA has been run into the ground.

It's like if your house caught on fire and a dozen fire trucks showed up and watched it burn, but only blaming the last fire truck for the damage.

There's plenty of blame to go around for the VA, including heaping on Obama because he's had six years so far to make reforms.

But a lot of other presidents had the opportunities to do something for our veterans and did not.

Like LeBron James, we become fixated on things because the media tells us we should care and what we should think. Worse yet, we believe it.

Patrick Murphy, of Humphrey, Neb., is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram

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