While the twenty four hour news cycle was on TV as early as 1980 with the the launch of CNN, it hasn't always been a staple of media culture. It allowed people to see the OJ Simpson Bronco chase in real time, years later, the rescue of the Chilean miners.But it used to be rare to see such events televised. The infamous graphic Zapruder film had to be developed and sent to different locations, the Kennedy assassination, while on tape, was not streamed into American homes in real time.
So what changed?
As mentioned before,in 1980 CNN launched as the first 24 hour cable news show. And then there was a tragedy that helped propel the world into the constant news cycle that we have adopted now.
9/11. Between the coverage of the attack, the clean up and war that followed, the United States and the globe watched everything unfold in real time. And afterwards, we were never able to part with the system. We adjusted to being bombarded by news constantly. And now with social media at it's peak, we can't escape from the constant news stories and updates. There's always something going on our TV's, phones and computers are blowing up with notifications, special updates and information. There's an Apple app that comes with Iphones that is entirely dedicated to news.
You would think that it would help us stay in touch with what's going on. But that is just not the case. In reality, it is confusing and overwhelming.
And politicians from both sides of the aisle (along with big corporations and media conglomerates) are well aware of this and frequently use it to their advantage.
It's why President Trump blows up our Twitter feeds and distracts us with potential Wizard of Oz references. Or, starts a fight with Chrissy Tiegan on Twitter. Those become the new headlines, the trending hashtag, soundbite, etc, you name it. Meanwhile, the true news, like Trump's refusal to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, go under the radar, because our minds and devices are drowning in all of it.
While the twenty four hour news cycle was meant to keep us informed and updated on current events, it can distract us, mislead us, and ensure that important information gets lost in the chaos. Keep that in mind when celebrity news trends alongside political news. Now more than ever, we need to choose and read our news stories carefully.