News Fatigue? How to think about abundance of 24-hr ‘news’


Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

IS TOO MUCH NEWS A BAD THING?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take you to a Pew Research Report today. Almost 7 in 10 Americans have “news fatigue.” Sixty-eight percent feel worn out by the amount of news there is these days compared with 3 in 10 who say they like the amount of news they get. Interestingly, Republicans feel more worn out by the news, more so than Democrats. What does this tell us about news and what does this tell us about the American culture?

DR. REEDER: Almost exactly a year ago, my sister went to be with the Lord. I used to talk to her every day. Well, I can promise you, in that statistic, she would be numbered with that 3 in 10. My sister could devour the news. She would not only have the news story; she would have the news story on the news story and the news story on the news story that’s on the news story.

She would come up with so much information that it would be overwhelming. She had immersed herself in it and was saturated with it and processing it and would get upset with her siblings if we had not spent the same amount of time on it.

TOM LAMPRECHT: And she’s one of the reasons we do this program.

DR. REEDER: That’s exactly where I was heading is that, in the providence of God, when I pastored in Charlotte, our church had a radio station that had been given to us by CBN and Pat Robertson. The genesis of this program actually began with that when we started the station that said, “We report the news; we don’t make the news,” and then we would separate news reporting and editorializing on that station. And she was our executive director and just did a marvelous job. And, thus, eventually, came the birth of “Today in Perspective.”

WHEN NEWS WAS ONLY A HALF HOUR

And she went out, literally, and helped raise money to get this started, Tom. What we might see as the incidental cause of this fatigue, we have this proliferation of cable stations. When you have a 24-hour, 7 days a week, 365 days a year station that’s devoted to news, you’re not only going to be providing a constant flow of news into the culture, but you’re going to be, as it were, making news instead of, at the end of a day — this is the way it used to be — you would come home, greet your family, have your supper and then you would sit down for a 30-minute program on news.

Then they expanded it to one hour. Okay, we can live with that. Then, all of a sudden, got added this thing called “Nightline,” which was an expansion of news and began to provide investigative work. Now investigative journalism became a vital part of the news industry instead of the reporter giving “just the facts.”

MORE NEWS MAKES IT HARD TO COMPARTMENTALIZE

All of that has contributed now to the multiplication of news and the multiplication of news media so that you can get news on a radio, on a television on your computer, as many people who listen to this program do so by virtue of the app.

I wish I could tell you we could have a cultural rebirth of the old era of providing news with the reasonable commitment of some portion of your day — 30 minutes or an hour — through trusted journalists who have worked through the stories and, “Here they are and I’m doing my best to give you some objective reporting,” and then, at the end of the program comes an editorial analysis.

I wish we could get back to that, but I have no real hope so you, as a listener, if you don’t want to be fatigued by the news phenomena in our culture, you are going to have to create your own environment and that’s exactly what I would encourage you to do. Find two or three trusted sources for news and then find programs like this one that will look at the news and events from a confessed, understood and unhidden commitment to looking at it through a particular prism and world and life view. I have two places that, basically, I go for news and I have two places I go to to be challenged and instructed in terms of looking at news and events from a world and life view.

WHEN DID WHAT PEOPLE THINK ABOUT THE NEWS BECOME THE STORY?

TOM LAMPRECHT: A few years ago, when there was one celebrity who was accused of some immorality, the news came on and they gave a poll that a certain percentage thought this individual was guilty and a certain percentage thought he was innocent. I thought to myself, “What does that have to do with the news story?”

DR. REEDER: Well, I think what that has to do with the news story is the fact that the journalist no longer wanted to report the news, but the journalist wanted to be a commentator on the news and refused to separate the reporting of the news from the commentary on the news or the editorializing of the news.

And, by the way, that surfaces something else, what we might call “poll fatigue.” Polling is, in a sense, a recent phenomenon — it’s less than a century old. It was in the presidential campaigns of 1938 that it first made its appearance in the initial run of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Now, when we get a report from the news, we immediately get a poll survey. Nobody is going to run for any office of any distinction without having on their staff someone who does polling. No company does anything without polling. I actually think that is contributing to the news fatigue because polling is a backdoor way of making a commentary on the news and undermining any sense of objective reporting because, once you introduce the poll, you then begin to interpret the news through the subjectivity of the pollster, the poll and the one reporting the poll and now we don’t have a news story any longer for me to process, but we have something that’s already been digested and processed and given to me in the guise of reporting the news.

THE POLLS ARE NOW INEFFECTIVE AND ESSENTIALLY BACKWARDS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, haven’t we gotten polling backwards? We used to hear what a politician would believe and embrace, we’d find a poll that a certain percentage would agree or disagree with that politician. Now the politician listens to the polls and then he espouses what he believes.

DR. REEDER: Which ought to be a part of that second category of editorializing, you then go to people who tell you when that’s happening. You remember the famed devolution of the Clintons and President Obama: “Here, I’m for traditional marriage when I was running for this office. When I wasn’t running for the office, I was not for traditional marriage. And then, when I ran for president, I was for traditional marriage and now that I’m president, “my position has evolved,’” which I believe actually should be devolved into the abyss of pagan ethics.

Now, that would be the time for an editorialist to bring all of that out and then you editorialize. Now we have to ask ourselves a question: our politicians, do they have any hope of being a statesman and that means someone who has a center and an anchor of a core of beliefs and the character to affirm that, while always being teachable will hold consistently to those ethical absolutes, will that be a part of their life or not?

Politicians, instead of, “Here’s my position and what do the polls say about how people view my position?” to now the politicians hire the pollster to find out what position they ought to take on something. What we desperately need are men and women of character who have convictions in life and who are aware of the news of the day but, instead of finding the trajectory to profit from it, they become part of sending the trajectory so that the culture can profit from stability, integrity, and then ethical framework that is rooted, I believe, rightly in a Christian world and life view.

THE GOAL OF THIS PROGRAM

And that’s what we are attempting to do — we claim no perfection on “Today in Perspective” but that is our consistent commitment, Tom. And stories like this bear out the fact that what we’re doing is needed but we need to keep doing it the way we’re doing it. “Here’s what the news story said. Now here is our analysis from a Christian world and life view.”

We must not try to pass our analysis off as news, nor attempt to be newsmakers but, having had the news reported, here is a presentation of a Christian world and life view of that event, what you can learn from it, how you can respond to it and then the appeal to people that a Christian world and life view becomes a glorious journey of growth in the grace of God that begins with a commitment to Christ as Lord and Savior so that you love the Lord now with all of your heart, your soul and your mind.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

24 mins ago

Ex-Auburn assistant basketball coach Chuck Person pleads guilty

Former Auburn University assistant coach and 13-year NBA veteran Chuck Person pleaded guilty Tuesday to a bribery conspiracy charge in the widespread college basketball bribery scandal, ensuring that none of the four coaches charged in the probe will go to trial.

Person, 54, of Auburn, Alabama, entered the plea in Manhattan federal court, averting a June trial.

355

He and his lawyer declined to speak afterward and made a quick exit from the courthouse.

Prosecutors said Person accepted $91,500 in bribes to steer players with NBA potential to a Pittsburgh-based financial adviser.

As part of the plea, he agreed to forfeit that amount.

Person said he committed his crime in late 2016 and early 2017.

The plea deal has a recommended sentencing guideline range of two to 2½ years in prison, though the sentence will be left up to Judge Loretta A. Preska.

The sentencing is scheduled for July 9.

In a release, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said Person “abused his position as a coach and mentor to student-athletes in exchange for personal gain.”

“In taking tens of thousands of dollars in cash bribes, Person not only placed personal financial gain above his obligations to his employer and the student-athletes he coached, but he broke the law,” he said.

Person’s plea falls in line with those recently entered by three other former assistant coaches at major college basketball schools.

Tony Bland, a former Southern California assistant coach; ex-Arizona assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson; and former Oklahoma State assistant coach Lamont Evans are awaiting sentencing.

Their prison terms are likely to be measured in months rather than years.

Person, former associate head coach at Auburn, was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in 1986 and played for five NBA teams over 13 seasons.

In court papers, prosecutors said Person arranged multiple meetings between the financial adviser and Auburn players or their family members.

Prosecutors said he failed to tell families and players that he was being bribed to recommend the financial adviser.

In one recorded conversation, the prosecutor said, Person warned an Auburn player to keep his relationship with the financial adviser a secret.

According to prosecutors, Person said: “Don’t say nothing to anybody. … Don’t share with your sisters, don’t share with any of the teammates, that’s very important cause this is a violation … of rules, but this is how the NBA players get it done, they get early relationships, and they form partnerships.”
(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

Sign-up now for our daily newsletter and never miss another article from Yellowhammer New

1 hour ago

Marsh bill to repeal Common Core approved by Senate committee

MONTGOMERY — Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh’s (R-Anniston) bill to eliminate Common Core in the state of Alabama was given a unanimous favorable recommendation by the Senate’s Education Policy Committee on Wednesday.

The bill, SB 119, is now set to be debated and considered on the Senate floor Thursday.

Marsh spoke about this bill during Yellowhammer Multimedia’s “News Shaper” event in Montgomery Tuesday evening after he filed the bill earlier that day.

He acknowledged that he has been a proponent of letting the state school board set education curriculum and standards policy in the past and even stopped an effort to repeal Common Core a few years ago. However, in Marsh’s view, Common Core has been given a chance now and it is time for the legislature to step in.

“It’s not working. I think we have to have some radical change with education policy in this state. And y’all know me, I’ve pushed a lot of things –  public charter schools, the Accountability Act. We’ve got to address this issue and it’s critical for this state,” Marsh said.

387

He said eliminating Common Core would “clear the field” so the state could then move forward to better education outcomes.

Alabama would come up with its own high standards, premised on local control, under Marsh’s proposal.

He said his bill is cosponsored by all 27 of his Republican Senate colleagues and he expects SB 119 to pass the chamber and then receive similarly strong support in the House.

“I am committed to moving to a different standard that’s right for Alabama and moves us forward,” Marsh emphasized.

He also advised that there is a high level of politics involved in education decisions in the state but that sound policy must come first.

“[T]he education community, who I’ve asked to get this fixed, who have not addressed this, quite honestly I don’t think has put us in shape to move forward to address the problem at present. But I’m going to do all I can to see that it happens,” Marsh added.

Democrats on the Senate Education Policy Committee spoke in favor of keeping Common Core on Wednesday.

A career public school teacher from Lee County spoke in favor of eliminating Common Core at the hearing, while representatives from the state school superintendents association and the school boards association had concerns about the implementation of new standards.

Marsh said his bill will be amended before final passage to allow another national standard to be used if found to be best for Alabama, as the current language in his bill would ban any national standard from being adopted by the state school board.

Update, 11:35 a.m.:

State Sen. Sam Givhan (R-Huntsville) released a statement in support of Marsh’s bill.

“I strongly support Senator Marsh’s bill,” Givhan said. “The Common Core standards just haven’t worked for Alabama’s students, and the proof is evident in the data. In 2017, Alabama’s 8th grade math scores ranked 49th among the 50 states, and math scores for 4th grade students were 45th in the nation, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Common Core’s curriculum standards and guidelines have been in place for nine years, and they have failed Alabama’s students. It’s clear we need to look at alternative educational methods, with an emphasis on returning as much control as possible back to the local school districts.”

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Marsh, McCutcheon talk lottery, ethics clarifications at Yellowhammer ‘News Shaper’ event

MONTGOMERY — Speaking Tuesday evening at Yellowhammer Multimedia’s first “News Shaper” event of 2019, Alabama Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and House Speaker Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia) provided their insight on some of the hot-button topics expected to be debated during the legislature’s ongoing regular session.

Yellowhammer owner and editor Tim Howe, who moderated the discussion, outlined uncertainty in the state’s ethics laws brought on by recent court and ethics commission decisions. Howe then asked the two leaders how they think the legislature can provide certainty and codified clarification moving forward, especially when it comes to defining a “principal.”

“There is no doubt that there’s a lot of uncertainty in the ethics legislation,” Marsh said. “The [Alabama Code of Ethics Clarification and Reform Commission] was set up to look over this, but in addition to that, both the Senate and the House – in the Senate you have Greg Albritton and in the House [you have] Mike Jones – working throughout the entire break on how we address this.”

724

“And remember,” Marsh continued, “it’s not about 140 legislators, there are 50,000 people in the state of Alabama affected by the ethics law. I’m going to make a plea to my colleagues, some of whom are in this room tonight: If it’s going to be fixed, we’ve got to fix it.”

He emphasized, “[I]t’s not going to get any easier. You’ve got to face the issues. You’ve got to address it and realize this is about much [more] than the legislature. So, I’m hopeful.

Marsh also noted that the uncertainty in the ethics law has “affected economic development.”

“There’s a section there where the economic developers are having problems keeping the [confidentiality] in the process of recruiting industries. We’ve got to address this,” he advised. “And I’m hopeful that we will address it this year.”

Marsh added, “I know that both Senator Albritton and Representative Jones have been in conversation with the attorney general and the ethics commission, as well. So we’re going down a path to try and get everybody on the same page. But we have got to -trust me, ladies and gentleman – we have best fix this. It’s got to be done.”

Howe then asked Marsh to articulate why certainty in the ethics law for economic development professionals is important not just for them, but for the entire state and each of its residents.

“[I]t’s important for the state, because we’re competing with all of the other states,” Marsh said.

He used the example of a piece of legislation passed out of committee that very day largely dealing with Polaris vehicles built in north Alabama and explained that the site selection process requires confidentiality, with most economic development recruitment projects being given code names.

“Because we’re competing against other states. And if we’re not able to keep that degree of secrecy at that stage of the game, we’re at a disadvantage to our neighbors,” Marsh explained.

He concluded, “So this is something that we have got to address. But I’m going to say this: that’s [only] a piece of it. And there’s going to be an attempt by the business community and economic developers to pass the piece. But I think it’s [incumbent] upon us to pass the big picture, solve all the problems, because you want as many people with you, supporting you, to make the changes. Every time you carve off a little piece, you lose some support. So, as I said, I want to help everybody, but I’m committed to the big picture.”

Lottery

Howe later asked the speaker if the time has come for a lottery proposal to pass the legislature and reach a referendum of the people.

“I think so,” McCutcheon responded. “I think it’s been coming for several years. I know that the districts, House districts, that are [bordering other states], most of those districts have seen a significant shift over the last seven or eight years because they see Alabamians driving across the state line to buy lottery tickets.”

He continued, “And people are starting to talk about it, and they’re starting to make it part of their discussion around the dinner table. … At the end of the day, there’s a good push from the people.”

McCutcheon did emphasize what he viewed as key to a successful lottery discussion.

“If we’re going to put this to a vote of the people, and I think it has a good chance of passing, we need to make sure that people understand what they’re voting on,” he outlined. “That’s very, very important. We don’t want to cloud the issue with the definition of a ‘lottery’ and try to sneak something in the back door. Let’s make sure the people understand in their minds what a lottery is and we define it in such a way that they know what they’re voting on.”

“Then, I think the next big debate will be, ‘Where’s the money [lottery revenue] going to go?’ And that will be something that we’ll have to contend with,” McCutcheon concluded.

This came the same day that Senator Jim McClendon (R-Springville) filed a lottery proposal that was soon after called not “clean” by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, who said McClendon’s legislation would legalize slot machines in a select few places in the state.

Watch the entire discussion:

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

After 133 launches, Alabama built rockets boast 100% mission success

Thank you to the United Launch Alliance team and the entire workforce surrounding another successful launch.  Alabama’s Decatur based facility brings the utmost precision, passion and purpose to one of the most technically complex, critical American needs: affordable, reliable access to space.

1
3 hours ago

Bipartisan bill to regulate vaping set for House committee hearing

MONTGOMERY — Alabama is currently one of only three states to not regulate vaping, but that could soon change.

HB 41, sponsored by Republican Rep. Shane Stringer and Democrat Rep. Barbara Drummond, both of Mobile County, is on the House Judiciary Committee’s agenda for Wednesday afternoon.

The bill would regulate the sale, use and advertisement of vaping – or “alternative nicotine products” – in the state.

In an interview with Yellowhammer News, both Drummond and Stringer emphasized that their bill is intended to protect the health and wellbeing of Alabama minors.

582

“The motivation is simple,” Drummond emphasized. “We are trying to safeguard the teens in the state of Alabama.”

She outlined, “Vape shops, as it stands right now, are not regulated at all… And the bill came about because our drug education council locally brought it to our attention, but [Stringer and I] have both seen ourselves, as well as throughout the whole state, the rise of vape shops. They’re popping up everywhere in the state of Alabama.”

While it is too early to tell what vaping is directly doing to users’ health, Stringer and Drummond emphasized there is an objective gateway effect from vaping use and to smoking traditional cigarettes.

“Right now, there is no data that says what is the [direct] effect that these products are having on our young people. What we are seeing, and this is a national trend, is that you’re seeing smoking not going down, but increasing, among young people,” Drummond explained.

Stringer, a career law enforcement officer with stints as chief of multiple local police departments, said educators from every corner of Mobile County have voiced their concerns with the lack of state oversight on vape products and retailers “saying this is an epidemic and a problem what we need to address.”

“The products haven’t been out long enough to know the problems we could face in five, ten, 15 years from now,” he said. “It’s pretty similar to when smoking came out. There was basically no risk at that time, according to everyone. Now, look at all the data that we have to go with smoking… this is a new product we’re learning every day about.”

Stringer said statistics they were shown from the drug education council show an approximately 34 percent increase in children under 19-years-old that tried smoking after vaping.

“In Alabama, we don’t want to wake up one day and see the effects, negative effects on our kids,” Drummond added. “Right now, we’re trying to be responsible legislators to make sure that we look out for the welfare of our children.”

The two lawmakers also stressed that not only do vape shop operators have no restrictions on them, but the state has no way to even keep track of them currently.

Their bill would make it illegal to sell or give vape products to anyone under 19-years-old. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board would regulate retail sales of the products, just as they do tobacco products. Retailers would have to obtain an annual permit, which includes an application fee of $300. Retailers would also have to comply with relevant FDA regulations and post signage warning of the dangers of nicotine usage.

Using vape products in certain places, including schools and child care facilities, would be prohibited.

‘This is something that is nonpartisan, it’s not anything that is about Republican or Democrat. This is something about our young people,” Drummond said. “Because if you look at the amount of nicotine that is showing up in these products, when they first hit the market, the nicotine levels were very low – like five percent. Now, it’s gone up to about ten percent. They’ve got other chemicals in there, like formaldehyde. What is the effect of that upon the brains of our kids? So, this is more of a public wellbeing bill for us.”

Stringer advised that he foresees widespread support in the legislature for the bill.

“Everyone agrees that there has to be some checks and balances [oversight] in place,” he concluded.

Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn