“That was your first mistake. You took your lucky break,” said Paul McCartney and broke it in two.
I didn’t mean to do that, but the darn alarm clock kept going off and I was still tired.
Okay, just kidding.
“She’s waiting for me - yeah!”
Actually few of us wake up to an AM/FM alarm clock anymore and rare is it, if you do, Paul McCartney or the Beatles will be playing.
Instead we wake up to our iPhones and our Apple Watches. Our cars are beginning to drive themselves and soon the time will come when people will not be needed at all to keep the machinery going.
So, what will we do?
Science Fiction movies and novels are filled with characters bemoaning the predicted loss of humanity. Whether it is SkyNet creating Armageddon or the “Three laws of Robotics” protecting us, many authors have contemplated what it will mean when Robots become self aware and our hardware is loaded with the appropriate software to make us unaware and inconsequential.
Within the next 20 years we will make fantastic advances in science which will astound and sometimes confuse all of us.
And at the end of it all I keep running into a quote attributed to Asimov, “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
This is a problem we deal with daily no matter what our profession.
Car mechanics, surgeons, sales people and teachers constantly deal with people who claim to know more than they do though the proclaimed experts have little knowledge on the subject at hand, versus those who’ve spent years working hard in a profession.
Journalists, of course, are not an exception to this rule.
Everyone knows we are members of the biased liberal media cabal with no care for the facts – at least we hear it often and more often than not today versus 30 years ago.
We hear we didn’t land on the moon. Big Pharma wants to hide the cure for cancer. The government is spraying us with “chem trails.” The Holocaust didn’t occur. Donald Trump won the popular vote. Hillary Clinton is a convicted criminal or should be. Global warming is a convenient fiction.
There is never proof to any of these assertions that pass muster. But it is hard enough to win an argument with a smart person – as a smarter person than I once noticed – and it is damn impossible to win one with an ignorant person.
Much like giving up my morning AM/FM radio alarm clock, I’ve given up the idea I can convince anyone of anything – with one exception.
I will not take advice from those outside of this business telling me what is wrong with this business.
There are problems in the media of our own making and of the making of government intervention during the last 30 years. This has led to media monopolies, a weakened First Amendment and an audience more interested in reading, watching and hearing news which conforms to their own philosophical cul-de-sac and is spiced with obtuse entertainment and sports coverage.
There isn’t a problem with the media riding the crest of the wave of technology. There is a problem with fair and accurate reporting.
Vetted facts are the coin of the realm. It matters not whether they are broadcast, printed or shouted from the highest roof top.
There isn’t a reporter or editor who can’t point to the problems – which also include the demands of our audience for the frivolous and pointless.
We all know there are only five or six companies which own most of the airwaves and printed news. We know there is very little institutional memory in our profession due to a lack of pay. We all think we’ll be the last one out of the door before we turn the lights out for good on real reporting.
It isn’t that we’re biased to the right or the left. It isn’t that we don’t care. It’s that we have few reporters who can do the job and fewer companies doing the job.
We don’t have the resources we need. We are undermined by the audience and government and sometimes we deserve it.
And we’re all frustrated we cannot make our audience understand the problem – or more importantly we’re frustrated because the audience doesn’t want to address the problem.
They just want to gripe.
So, how do you make the AM/FM radio alarm clock work today?