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Slow news is the answer to a global bully

langleypondsmAs Donald Trump is inaugurated this week, we might do well to reflect on what sort of a person is being appointed to the US presidency. His behaviour is typical of the bully. He holds his audience in thrall by making brash and boastful statements about his power. He is going to make America great again. He will build a wall. He will sort it out. He will fix it. Anyone opposing him is belittled, not on the basis of their argument, but their power. Power is the only language a bully understands. They are failing or a failure. They are over-rated. Likewise, threats are made. Lock her up. And then threats are undone. I did not mean that. That is no longer my priority. It will be a fence. The important thing for the bully is not constancy, integrity or trust, but to keep people guessing, hanging on your every word.

And there is an antidote to this. It is to be more considered about life, not firing from the hip but becoming more reflective.

Nicholas Carr in this book The Shallows showed how the real danger of our internet age was that we would live life on the surface without adequate in depth consideration. The Trump phenomenon shows that his warnings appear to be absolutely on the button. So many of us are now news junkies, sampling news in one form or another, throughout each day. And such habits are fed by the shock/horror newsfeed dripping from Trump’s twitter finger.

Those who are familiar with this blog site will know that I am convinced of the need for a deeper reflection on society. It is only as we hold in our minds and our hearts the big challenges of humanity in terms of our unbridled economic system and our destruction of the earth that we will put in place effective strategies in response.

Ministers and the media are actively thinking how to counteract fake news. The BBC are going to beef up their fact check facilities and they BBC have noticed the need for ‘slow news’, working up more big picture coverage in historical context. (Guardian 12 BBC sets up team to debunk fake news – Jan Jasper Jackson)

One of the interesting products of such a development would be that slow news would, to some degree, limit the impact of the bully. No longer would we ‘hang’ on their words. Instead we would look for consistency and truth in their pronouncements. This would surely be a good thing.

Chris Sunderland
Author of Rise up with Wings like Eagles  published by Earth Books December 2016.


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