As one of your average armchair observers, I depend on what media has to tell me about current events. I read my local newspaper, “The Daily Journal”, though sometimes out of date. I receive email alerts on world news, from the SacBee, NYT, WAPO, KCRA, Tribune (Chicago), and ABC. I used to read a few others now defunct. I have not subscribed to SfGate, CNN or FOX, because I got tired of their bullshit. I used to read the others when they were free; I have not paid for monthly subscriptions to the above publications. I used to get AP and Reuters, IATimes, Japan Herald and Hong Kong News, VOA, and KUAM, but the emails stopped. I do spend a fair amount of time surfing various sources from different perspectives.
So, I did a review of my emails, and my local paper. Not one of the alerts mentioned Lebanon or Beirut until the events in Paris.
Yesterday I did an Google and Yahoo search for “Beirut”. Only CNN popped up with an article on the Beirut attack with the appropriate date. Today I did an similar search for “Beirut, 2015/11/12. Low and behold! There were pages of date appropriate articles from all kinds of media sources, including the ones for which I receive alerts.
This leads me to a few conclusions:
Clearly I am not engaging with news media in such a way as to receive a broad view of world events.
The journalistic sources that deign to send me email alerts are deciding what I should read, and it isn’t enough.
Google and Yahoo are not neutral news sources because they are search engines and they rank news on number of hits, not news.
When a person spends the time, as I did yesterday, reading 10 pages of search hits in the vain hope of finding date appropriate information on the Beirut explosion, the resulting frustration over my personal obliviousness, seemed in the long run, to actually be a symptom for something else.
For all our current internet technology, we average armchair observers are still pretty much in the dark. Why?