When I lived in San Bernardino, I got a first hand view of how news is reported, after a fire in our neighborhood. What I had seen and experienced basically resembled the reported account, but with some meaningful distinctions. It was the result of who the reporter quoted. I’ve never forgotten that.
It’s a big part of the reason I’m reticent when news breaks. I know there’s more to the story, and I know that how the story is being reported probably differs in some meaningful ways from what I would have seen and experienced in person. I refuse to get too agitated by misapprehension.
Today I’m seeing two very distinct, in fact contradictory, accounts from the aftermath of events in St. Louis. It’s the perfect cautionary tale regarding social media. What you say to and about people involved in these events is going to be misread, over-interpreted, and twisted, in your favor by those who agree and against you by those who don’t.
We’re in an over-reactive time, it seems to me. The amount of meaning and significance loaded in to various events prompts us to react as if the fate of the culture depends upon what we post, where we shop, and who we relate with. The result is people moving farther and farther apart. If C. S. Lewis is right it’s the precursor to Hell. It needs to stop.