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Memories of the 28th Century

Crises in the News

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Decades ago, we learned about grade inflation in schools and colleges. Today we are having another kind of inflation; Journalism is inflating everything into a crisis. And it isnít just journalism; the government is doing the same thing. Yesterday I got an emergency notification on my phone that there was a flash flood watch. There was a thunderstorm later, but I was nowhere near any watercourse that flooded.

If that were the only crisis. Then it would be amusing, but people have taken to calling everything a crisis. We have an immigration crisis, an inflation crisis, a debt crisis, climate crisis, energy crisis, etc. If you want more crises listed, that use your favorite search engine, and you will find more than you need.

You might also look up what crisis means. It is the Latin word for ďhingeĒ (third declension masculine), and it refers to a turning point, or it used to mean that, until the news media took to using it as something to try to grab the attention of readers and viewers. The purpose of news media is to attract people to look at it enough that they will notice the advertisements, and the people in that business have long believed that controversy attracts readers, and crises are simply a form of controversy. And using the word ďcrisisĒ is intended to male something look more important, even if it is a non-issue. The immigration crisis is an excellent of something that isnít a crisis. There have been illegal immigrants coming through the southern border for decades. Wet-backs were a minor problem 50 or 70 years ago, but they settled in and became legal in many cases, and they filled no when there werenít enough native workers available. A few years ago, Arizona started doing som3thing that scared the illegal workers away, so locals started taking those jobs again. There have been problems in Central American countries that made the people there want to get out, so they lined up at the border. I am surprised that Americans havenít taken over large parts of those countries, since they are still quite inexpensive.

Then there is the climate crisis. You remember how high sea level was during the Roman Warm Period, and how sea level dropped as the Dark Age approached and harbors silted up in many places. But that only lasted a few hundred years\, until the Medieval Warm Period came along, and sea level rose again. Then there was a turning point, and Greenland went from almost half clear of snow and warm enough that barley would ripen to the snow and ice covered island that it still is. Those changes were driven by the variation in solar energy getting to the Earth, and that varies, and every turning point in the solar input is a crisis.

I wonder if there is a crisis in tax policy. If there isnít then we need one, so that the national debt will not grow as fast as it has. There should also be a crisis in spending by the federal government, so that the feds wonít spend as much, so that the debt will decrease. Those two crises might bring on another crisis that we could use, a change from inflation to deflation, so that money will be worth something in the future. It might be nice if we went back to having money that was in accord with the federal constitution.

I think that the fundamental problem with crises in journalism is something that is going on in journalism departments in U.S. universities. I have never taken such a course, so I donít know for sure, but I suspect that the professors are teachings students to write badly, so that it is difficult to tell what an article means, so readers have to reread to catch the drift. It wasnít long when good non-fiction writing required an introductory paragraph that usual had a thesis statement and said what the writing was about, then there was the body of the story that told the details, and it was finished off with a summary that provided the conclusion, if there was a conclusion. These days, the thesis statement is toward the end, and the beginning is something that someone thinks might interest readers, but that is bad writing that makes readers stop reading.

I donít think there are many crises, but one crisis that I hope exists is an improvement in news reporting. Since I am not selling anything, I will allow readers to get back to useful things instead of reading more that adds nothing, but an online search may find you more that I have not included.

This commenter essentially agrees with me.