You may have noticed (or

posted by Jason Kottke Oct 02, 2001

You may have noticed (or perhaps you didn't) that I haven't been talking about the Current Situation much lately. It's not that I'm becoming apathetic or have been somehow desensitized to the whole thing. Far from it in fact. I saw video of the second plane ramming into the WTC for the first time in a couple weeks and all the grief, incredulity, and pain bubbled right up to the surface again...not that it was very far from the surface to begin with.

The problem I'm having is with the (intrinsic?) nature of news coverage itself. In the early stages of a situation like this, the news comes fast and hard and for the most part, unfiltered. It was mostly facts...there was actual reporting going on. Some of the reporting was crappy, and some of it was even dead wrong, but on the whole, it seemed honest and human and generally from a place of truth.

Now the spin and the analysis phase has set in. The PR machines of our government, large corporations, special interest groups, various agencies, and political parties have had time to mobilize. Everyone now has an "angle" appropriate to their political/corporate/religious/cultural affiliation. It feels like I'm not hearing the truth from humans anymore, I'm hearing careful crafted and sanitized PR from government/company/agency/media spokespeople. Perhaps it's my fault for immediately distrusting spin, but I just don't see how I can believe anything I'm hearing or take any notice of the analysis going on because it's based on incomplete and faulty information.

Does that make sense? I know I'm probably not explaining this very well...and hopefully this analogy won't make it any worse: I feel like I'm the last person in a giant game of telephone in which most of the participants are deliberately modifying the message so that when I actually do receive it, there's little of the original message left. And I don't feel like playing anymore.

However - and this is a hell of a however - I've decided that I'm going to try to ignore that instinct to give up. I'm going to continue to read and watch and listen to all the coverage out there with a critical mind. It's important to me as a functioning part of humanity that I stay educated about what is going on around me. The world is a crazy place, but if I can understand just a bit of it, I can keep myself sane and who knows, maybe even help a few of my fellow citizens out.