Today a friend offered this:
To this I respond a loud AMEN. Part of keeping our sanity is controlling how much bullshit we have to sort through.
An article from Politico describes the perils of the Trumpian information environment. The orange con-man is working hard to get into our brains.
Ah, yes, today he's selling voter fraud snake oil.
We do have a defense mechanism: we can make thoughtful choices about what information we consume and how we consume it.
I have a confession to make. As yesterday's post showed, I'm a news consumer formed by the Vietnam-era. By that I mean that I have almost never in a long life trusted government statements, especially about our foreign military adventures, but even about most anything. I've worked a long life in politics of various kinds. I've seen a fair number of politicians in action. By and large, I don't consume anything they say either, at least not by way of TV or video. I might listen to some audio or scan the text of a pronouncement, but infrequently. In general, I try to wait a little until the dust has settled before consuming complicated stories. For one ancient example, although I was surrounded by headlines and shouting TVs, I intentionally didn't attempt to understand the ins and outs of Watergate/the Nixon impeachment until after that crook resigned; I waited til All the President's Men came out. Far more recently, I didn't really try to understand the ins and outs of Obamacare until Dems finally managed to write the law.
Yet I've never felt seriously under-informed. As I've written here before, I scan the New York Times for a general picture of what the talkers of the world are talking about. On most topics, the headlines are plenty. Most of my input comes from other sources; these days I'm liking Talking Points Memo, Slate, and Vox. On this blog, I'll usually find a mainstream source for anything contemporary I want to discuss, but my reflections have often been spurred by something I encountered elsewhere, including from the sites on the blog list at the right.
I ignore Twitter. Half a decade ago I assembled a list of interesting reporters to follow. It worked for awhile, pointing me to journalism I might want to read. But then most Twitter users, including the journalists, turned the platform into a playpen for clever self-display, so I've stopped caring.
I do consume podcasts, particularly those from the same sources I also read online. That's because podcasts work well with my running habit.
And I still read widely in that obsolete source: books! Historical experience both alarms and reassures. It can help us survive Trump; after all, we're writing our own saga of defending democracy and decency in a mature capitalist, multi-ethnic, over-burdened society and planet. Let's make it a good story!
Graphic stolen from Slate.