Seth Godin lists the 12 pitfalls of cable news. If this doesn’t sound like the local news to you, you’re not paying attention.
Cable news thinking has nothing to do with fires or with politics. Instead, it amplifies the worst elements of emotional reaction:
- Focus on the urgent instead of the important.
- Vivid emotions and the visuals that go with them as a selector for what’s important.
- Emphasis on noise over thoughtful analysis.
- Unwillingness to reverse course and change one’s mind.
- Xenophobic and jingoistic reactions fear of outsiders.
- Defense of the status quo encouraged by an audience self-selected to be uniform.
- Things become important merely because others have decided they are important.
- Top down messaging encourages an echo chamber agree with this edict or change the channel.
- Ill-informed about history and this particular issue.
- Confusing opinion with the truth.
- Revising facts to fit a point of view.
- Unwillingness to review past mistakes in light of history and use those to do better next time.
If I wanted to hobble an organization or even a country, I’d wish these twelve traits on them.
Last night I thanked both Kevin Reily and Martin Gottlieb for their smear jobs. Martin told me that they held back (really). Read the list above, and think about what you read here- compared to what you read there.
I’ve been campaigning for a long time (too long, many say) and one of my first clues to carelessness is when a candidate talks about where they were born (as if they had anything to do with it) or how many kids they have (as if the ability to breed is a qualification).
Where are the questions about how we did things in the past, and what have you learned from them? Where are the questions about how to change specific things to make them better or more efficient (where real answers are required). Where is the analysis of actual achievement?
Issues 1, 5, 7 and 12 are my top choices with 6 running a close tie.
What would you pick?