Over 80 years have passed since Orson Welles’ paralyzed radio listeners in 1938 with his chilling broadcast of H.G. Well’s “War of the Worlds.” His realistic reading caused widespread panic amongst the people of the United States. In the decades preceding and following, Americans have fallen victim in believing numerous urban legends, hoaxes and the existence of such illusive creatures as Paul Bunyan, flying saucers, Big Foot, Yeti (not the cup!), The Jersey Devil, The Bell Witch, Chupacabras and the like. Most of these tall tales and/or creatures have not been proven true by any substantial or valid evidence.
One would think the human race would’ve learned its lesson by now about being gullible to media broadcasts and entertainment hoaxes. Oh no, not in America!
Simply open your news feed on Facebook or listen to the chatter amongst your co-workers and friends dramatically relaying the most recent “news” report they saw or heard online. High tech has rendered us low-brained.
I believe humans’ perpetual reliance on devices is to blame for the extinction of common sense, actual handwriting, basic conversation and people’s retention of useful information. We no longer have to think for ourselves, further cultivating the ever-growing naivety of the world.
President Trump may have been on to something when he advised Americans to choose their news sources wisely. So who do we turn to for straight answers and the necessary brain stimuli?
A recent poll named the BBC as the most trusted network on television. What does it say about the state of televised news in America when a foreign-based news agency ranks No. 1? It means TV has a lot of work ahead to earn back Americans’ trust. Is print media still viable?
Americans polled still hold more confidence in their local, small-town newspapers than they do in big media. But our work is far from over. Print media is fighting the never-ending war against extinction. Falling readership, advertising, impending closures, restructuring and employee turnover are literally killing off publications, one by one, every day in the U.S.
A Columbia Journalism Review showed 6 percent, roughly 19 million people, in the U.S. sought news from print newspapers and magazines. Granted, 6 percent seems minimal, but take a look at that percentage on a grander scale. The population of Missouri presently stands at more than 6 million residents. It would take more than three times our state’s population to equal the nationwide average newspaper readership in America. Pretty decent numbers if I do say so myself.
Roughly 19 million people in the U.S. have shown they hold the common sense to seek out truth within the news of the world by reading a newspaper. Will you follow suit?