Why is the news cycle getting shorter and shorter?

Remember the anonymous Op-Ed from within the Trump administration?  We’re hardly talking about it any more, and indeed so many “major” stories from just a few weeks ago seem to be slipping from our grasp.  Why?

The naïve hypothesis is that we keep turning our attention to the very latest events because so much is happening so quickly. But there have been periods in the past when a lot was happening, such as the financial crisis of a decade ago, and the news cycle seemed “stickier” then. So this can’t be the entire story.

An alternate theory is that there are actually very few “true events” happening, but there is lots of froth on the surface. Maybe there is only one “big event” happening, one major transformation underway: a change in the willingness of American political leaders to break with previous norms. If the change is mostly in one direction, then maybe it’s enough to debate only the most recent news.

That may sound abstract, so here is a concrete analogy. Let’s say you are on a sinking ship. You might focus more on the current water level than on where it was in the recent past, except maybe to help you estimate the rate of flooding. In more technical terms, talking about the event of the day is a “sufficient statistic” for talking about the last two years.

The shorter news cycle also may result from greater political polarization. If people don’t frame events in a common way, then a discussion of those events might not last very long. Conversation will return very quickly to the underlying differences in worldviews, and discussion of any particular event will get trampled by a much larger philosophical debate. It does seem like we have been repeating the same general arguments about Trump, populism, gender and governing philosophy for some time now, and we are not about to stop.

Possibly the shorter news cycles are also a result of greater general disillusionment with politics and especially with elites, a theme outlined in Martin Gurri’s forthcoming book “The Revolt of the Public.” The really fun stuff might instead be watching mixed martial arts, debating social norms about gender and browsing the Instagram feeds of your friends.

Finally, maybe we’re all just better at digesting news events more quickly. Perhaps every possible observation, insight and argument gets put on Facebook and Twitter within a day or two, and much of this material is archived. What’s the point of repeating these debates every few months?

That is from my latest Bloomberg piece.  I am thankful to Anecdotal for a related point and insight.

Comments

Nobody really took the op-ed seriously, not sure why it would be in the news cycle long.

The suspicion was that it was a hoax cooked up by the failing New York Times. I think the successful Kavanaugh confirmation preoccupied many people. Not tired of all the winning yet.

Respond

Add Comment

It didn't tell anyone anything they didn't already know or believe. There wasn't a single new fact, and it was heavy on opinion. Seemed more like an ad for Woodward's book.

'There wasn't a single new fact, and it was heavy on opinion'

And amazingly, it appeared on the editorial page. And yet the part about considering a 25th Amendment removal of Trump was new, at least to the extent that this information has now seemingly been confirmed.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Well, President Trump continues to, as noted in his latest Fox interview - 'Trump also questioned the credibility of the New York Times, suggesting that it could have made up a high-profile op-ed purportedly written by a member of his administration who said many officials work to curb the president’s worst impulses.

“I wouldn’t be that surprised because the Times is so corrupt and dishonest,” Trump said, though he made it clear that “I don’t say it’s a good chance.”' https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/in-freewheeling-fox-interview-trump-swings-at-critics-but-suggests-he-could-work-with-democrats-next-year/2018/10/11/add61e4a-cd56-11e8-a360-85875bac0b1f_story.html?utm_term=.702011e914bb

Respond

Add Comment

What op-ed? The news story in DC at the moment that's of interest to me is that Greek-American construction company executive who was murdered along with his wife, maid and 10 year old son, after being tortured for nearly 19 hours and bound with duct tape in their expensive DC house, the son tortured via stabbing in front of his parents, the victims had numerous employees and other help, and nobody saw a thing amiss?? Wow, so much for neighborhood watch and having connections. They even had a dog but apparently it did not bark. Horrible murder by a Guyana immigrant (among possibly others still at large) who was a skilled welder (thus can find work anywhere) all for only $40k cash?! But apparently $40k cash is all that could be authorized to be given as ransom without raising a red flag?! Clearly the perp had help, but who? A real whodunit .

Thanks!

You're welcome a clockwork orange, apt name for this torture murder story. As you probably know by now, police suspect other accomplices, based on the following clues. $40k was the maximum amount of money that could be withdrawn by the aide to the deceased executive without going to the bank, as per company rules. The aide withdrew this money and left it outside the front door of beseiged house, while the executive was inside the house with his family, which is suspicious. Was the aide in on it or just following instructions? Only 10k was found on the accused murderer, and he had spent nothing for the two days or so while he was on the run, even making it to NYC from DC to visit his girlfriend, even wearing the same shoes that had the deceased's blood stains on them, so maybe there were three other accomplices? (40k/4 = 10k each) Another maid's husband came to the house, while it was under seige, and the executive phoned him while the man was at the front door knocking with a phony story that the man's maid wife was in a hospital with the executive's wife, but the man, though he thought the story was fake, did not alert police. Clearly the executive was trying to signal for help with a knife to his throat but the maid's husband was either too scared to go to the police. Was she illegally in the USA? That woiuld explain it perhaps, though I think DC is a sanctuary city, or did the maid's husband not make the connection, though he said he thought the story bizarre when it heard it. I would have made the store a bit more outlandish but hindsight is always perfect. The executive texted, clearly under duress, for another maid not to show up while under seige, again, I would have texted something bizarre but it's hard to say since the murderer clearly must have had a knife to his throat while he was composing the text. I would have introduced uncharacteristic spelling mistakes into the text, or bizarre nicknames for the maid, and told the perp that was my usual way of composing messages, though it's possible the perp would have scrolled through the older messages on the cell phone, or perhaps even the perp himself composed the message.

Never let people into your house that you owe money to, apparently, the murderer was a current or former employee and was owed money, the executive was hard on his employees (it's been said, though police have had a hard time getting former employees to admit this, which itself is bizarre; how did this story even get started?), the perp had a history of violence including sexual assault, though, as is typical with these stories, looked like a gym rat but his lawyer says 'he would not hurt a fly'. But the fact the perp is capable of killing you with his bare hands makes him a constant meance who must be carefully watched. Would you keep a 1 year old child with a Rothwilder? No. Further, the executive had training in karate but was taken by surprise after he walked into the ambush (his family was already under seige). Like in the 911 hijackings, maybe the perp had said 'cooperate and I'll release you'? After all, the perp was known to the executive since the perp was a former or current employee. The murderer(s) paid for pizza by leaving a cash envelope outside the front door, is this not unusual? The pizza delivery guy did not think so, perhaps others do this. The mass murder has shades of another torture killing in Connecticut between black criminals and white victims where the victims were forced to commit sexual acts on one another before they were killed.

In short, do not allow yourself to be tied up, and once somebody is harmed, the perp has "drawn blood" and is likely to hurt you. Once the boy was cut by the perp, the parents should have realized they would not get out of this alive. Perhaps they did realize this, and were buying time, but they should have drawn up (with hindsight) a more elaborate plan to alert others. That said, 19 hours under seige is a lot of time they did actually buy, but in the end it did not help them survive. However, if many people were in on the scheme (for example the other maid, which seems unlikely, or the business aide, which is less unlikely) then it's hard to alert the outside world. Interesting story not getting press on CNN, probably to avoid inflamatory feelings. I recall another DC murder of a few years ago during Xmas between an insane black and an attractive white woman was also not mentioned except twice, and the story went away. I even mailed Sailor about it but he did nothing either, to my knowledge. Strange how some boring stories get legs but some more interesting stories peter out.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Writing long-form articles naturally filters for longer lasting news, if for no reason other than the news must last longer than the time between idea conception and actual publication. When generating clickbait or trying to get Twitter retweets, that filter disappears. Think of today's clickbait and tweets as stuff that, in years past, would have ended up as discarded ideas during the idea evaluation stage. There is a correlation between the superficial and the ephemeral. Twitter, being the internet version of bumper stickers, emphasizes the superficial.

Respond

Add Comment

'When generating clickbait'

Thankfully, this web site would never be involved in promoting clickbait, much less generating it.

And of course, it has a longer perspective - why, this is a great web site to visit for information about the GMU basketball team or 3D printing.

And don't disparage Twitter - these days, it seems to be a major source of information for Prof. Cowen. And this is not just an Anecdotal observation, by the way.

Respond

Add Comment

News in a kakistocracy is just hard to take. It batters us down, leads people to write essays about why we should ignore it all.

By way of example, my nomination for the biggest story that everyone wants to ignore is that Rosenstein apparently did have serious conversations about taping Trump and worrying about his fitness.

And strangely, people who do talk about it approach it from how outlandish Rosenstein was, rather than concern that he was right.

It all flows together.

Art used to be something to cherish
Now literally anything could be art
This post is art.
— Anonymous[114]

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

It’s cute that you think the news cycle is about delivering news.

It’s about smearing Trump 24/7, and when the smears are fake, you can’t run them for nine straight days. You pump them out there for 36 hours til the cracks are showing too obviously, and then you go on to the next.

The “drive-by media,” it is so eloquently called.

Pretty much true. Most of the "news" these days is just Trump sparring with the news media, and most people aren't that interested, because it doesn't mean anything. So no one story lasts very long. It's more like celebrity gossip than it is like genuinely important events such as the financial crisis.

It's anti-aircraft fire. The media just keeps spraying as much of it into the atmosphere as it can, hoping that something will score a hit.

Outrage of the day, 24/7. Pot is legal, most of the World has an obesity problem (a nice fix to be in compared to all of History), same sex marriage ..., Billionaire people of color and a President too! Just didn't get that woman into office and she's pissed and wants to burn the place down.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

'It’s about smearing Trump 24/7'

You need to start watching the real media then - Fox, Sinclair, Infowars, etc.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

My personal perception is that confidence in news is proportional to time spent on news. Every time I open CNN and see something negative about Trump I just skip it. Not because I love Trump, but because I am already doubting the legitimacy of that article (which is a problem, since a large enough percentage is probably true). News agencies are able to measure interest, and since interest rotates quickly, headlines will rotate quickly too.

As someone who remembers a better, older CNN (and for that matter a very different New Yorker), I’m still rather stunned at what CNN has evolved into. For a while it was all Stormy Daniels, all the time.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Every time I open CNN I count how many seconds before I hear the word "Trump" then I close it.

I never watch Fox, but sometimes when I'm bored I switch to CNN just to watch in bewilderment how Trump is literally always the headline, and how biased folks truly believe they are unbiased.

It's almost as entertaining as reading a good dystopian novel.

I never watch Fox either.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Perhaps possibly maybe all of our elites' proffered tech gadgetry is simply making most Americans more stupid than exposure to public education and ubiquitous cable/streaming/gaming/music entertainment fare thus far has rendered them.

(TC could disabuse me of this view were he to publish here @ MR a source with reasonably accurate stats on the levels of current American adult literacy, sub-literacy, and illiteracy: if our cognitive elites and cosmopolitan provincials possess these data, they can share.)

Respond

Add Comment

I observe that when Tyler puts a link to his Bloomberg article at the top of his post, I assume that my time will be rewarded by reading it, and I click through to Bloomberg read the whole thing. But when the Bloomberg link is at the bottom, as here, I assume I've already read what Tyler considers the most valuable content, and my time won't be as rewarded by re-reading it in full. So I don't click through.

Respond

Add Comment

For an economist, I'm surprised you have missed the obvious answer.

The news cycle is cheap gossip picked up on Twitter and gussied up for eyeballs and clicks.

How many pages and electrons were wasted blathering on about Melania's hat last week?

What is truly remarkable about the news cycle is how few people are watching or listening. I suspect the media landscape is going to change dramatically over the next year, mostly characterized by disappearance. Their audience has disappeared and the remaining advertising dollars will follow shortly.

I wonder if anyone paid for that anonymous op-ed, or whether it was free content.

Respond

Add Comment

My immediate question when I saw the spate of stories about the horrible, neo-post-colonial hat Melania Trump was wearing was ... is there any hat that would not have provoked some criticism?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

News source: "Trump is a crook."

Me: "Yes, I know. I also know he's not going to arrest himself. Next story?"

News source: "Next story: Trump is a crook."

There are things I'd like to read more on, like how the new tax laws will affect my bottom line and strategies, or what opportunities for work exist both at home or abroad, but we don't get to hear about that, do we?

Or, Fox News: "Trump is your savior."

Me: "Yeah, you keep saying that, but my life is still the same. Next story?"

Fox News: "Next story: Trump is your savior."

I don't know if I am a minority here but as a conservative I never go to FoxNews. I do follow certain conservative people on Facebook and Instagram, because it feels like even though I agree with them there's still some interesting variability on what they say and what I expect them to say. That variability in the case of FoxNews is pretty much zero. That's also why I still insist in checking CNN but not MSNBC.

You aren't the only one. I read widely, looking for individual journalists who seem to have some idea of what is going on. Almost everything across the political spectrum is dreck responding to other dreck.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

I guess you don’t watch Fox News or listen to their news on the radio. Since the sons took control, it’s not pro-Trump. Fox & Friends in the morning, and the evening lineup 7-11, yes, but the rest are lukewarm at best.

Lukewarm? Why the hell are they lukewarm about winning all the time?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

The premise is WAY OFF with respect to the pro-Republican news sources on "The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump" (the subtitle of the Gregg Jarrett book).

Maybe that news item is driving other news sources to distraction?

Respond

Add Comment

News used to be more focused on people actually doing something, or having something done to them. News today more likely involves people merely saying things, tweeting things and so on -- often stupid, empty or unsubstantiated things. And then other people responding in kind.

It's a lot faster and easier to say something than do something, and the news media feels the compulsion to keep up with it all as well as help ignite the next round.

I'm a big Trump fan but he certainly is part of this loop

Very true. Why would anyone care what Leonardo de Caprio's opinion on global warming might be? Should an endorsement by Kanye West be important on my own evaluation of the current administration?

Who would care? The person writing the checks at the media company, that is who. Why would you send someone out on payroll and expenses to dig up some story when all you have to do is have a bunch of cheap interns watching twitter and picking up various outrages by known names? You could even have an algorithm to do that for much cheaper.

We are hearing the babbling nonsense of a dying industry. It is painful to watch. A little.

It IS painful -- back when I was a newspaper editor I was proud of the job because I thought readers got a lot for their 50 cents, or whatever the paper cost back then.

Now people are largely stuck with that Twainian choice of being uninformed or misinformed, unless they have time to dig around beneath the surface

That was hard work, labor intensive, with high costs of production and distribution. To make it work required the effort you put into it, otherwise the readership simply disappeared with the advertisers that paid for the whole mess.

And I agree with your description of the current state of affairs, and believe that it has and will lead to serious errors in judgement that have nasty consequences. For all it's flaws the system you worked in did a pretty decent job of informing both the subscriber base and the policy and decision makers as to what was happening.

If I'm uninformed, so what. What if corporate or political leadership is uninformed or misinformed?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Attention spans in general have been declining for the past two decades. Not sure if it has anything in particular to do with the content of the news.

http://time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/

Respond

Add Comment

Seems to me that the declining viewership has set most of the mainstream media in panic mode. Could that be it?

Respond

Add Comment

Many on this page presume bad news is false.
If only it were that easy. It is possible that bad news is true, and our own ability to process is the limiting factor.

https://www.npr.org/2018/10/02/653607732/michael-lewis-trumps-approach-to-government-shows-neglect-and-misunderstanding

Elections are coming up. Strictly speaking, it is our civic responsibility to understand a more concrete reality and fashion policy consistent with it.

(Less than 30 days from the midterms might be a bad time to say don't read the news.)

NPR is propaganda.

"Lewis' new book, The Fifth Risk, examines three federal departments under Trump: energy, agriculture and commerce. He warns that half of the top 700 positions in the administration remain unfilled."

What more do you need to know? That's exactly why I support Trump. The rest of the conversation appears to be about some fancy blowhard leftist slandering Trump.

"GROSS: So has your understanding of, like, our bureaucracy changed through writing these stories?"

LEWIS: Like, it totally did!

The funny thing is that by this point there are dozens and dozens of personal testimonies, but each time you can pretend it's just one and say "hey, how can you believe this one guy?"

Respond

Add Comment

Or forget testimony, Trump himself. Donald Trump in Helsinki.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/07/24/cancel-donald-trump-vladimir-putin-helsinki-sequel-column/816245002/

All part of the mudflow, and too much for us to manage.

If you were fair minded and even partially objective, and not a Daily Kos mouthpiece, you’d acknowledge that whatever Trump spouts off is sometimes undercut by realty. For example, in actual real world practice, the current administration hasn’t been very soft on Russia at all, re: sanctions, NATO exercises, missile installation (or removal) and general treatment.

Most likely that’s NOT because Trump is playing Putin in some sophisticated way. But overall that’s what’s been happening. And the news cycle doesn’t register this underlying reality at all.

If you were better you would have started with fact and not insult.

And if you were more sophisticated you would know that government as a whole, what we have started calling the "deep state," relates to Russia in a way different than Trump himself.

In other words, Trump himself can melt down in Helsinki, but most of the state department and most of the defense department can continue on and do their jobs.

Hey, it's consistent with that op-ed many want to disbelieve.

Respond

Add Comment

My other overnight thought was that it is very sad that in this day and age people still think criticism of Trump is "left" (Daily Kos).

It shows a low understanding of who Trump critics actually are, and how they span the political spectrum.

Even worse it reinforces Trump's claim that anyone who does criticize him must be some part of a left opposition.

Maybe read some Patrick Chovanec, some George Will, some Will Wilkinson, as antidote.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

The political news cycle seems to increasingly mirror the sports new cycle. Very few sports stories stick around all that long, and the ones that do (think "I'm taking my talents to Miami", or further back the Babe's call-shot), do so mostly as meme. No surprise that as we treat politics more-and-more as sport, that the coverage would follow. Or maybe the causal nexus flow the other way: as we cover politics as we would sports, people increasingly treat it that way. Either way, we now are we where are.

So, perhaps this fits perfectly within the sinking-ship example. If you are covering basketball, the scores from the most recent games are really all that matter to most people. Perhaps some player gossip and commentary on standings/playoff picture. Now change basketball to politics in the prior example and you have the political news cycle.

(There is also a separate trend here on the reliance of 'click-bait' to sell advertisements that has likely shifted all news more towards the "sports model" of coverage. Everyone sticks around through the commercial break to see the plays of the day on SportsCenter, after all)

Respond

Add Comment

Remember when "Obama wore a tan suit" occupied the headlines for about a week?

We readers and television viewers did't change that fast, something else did.

No one, anywhere, actually gave a shit. That was a story about a non-story. Manufactured outrage.

I hope no one took it seriously, but still it did occupy the new cycle. Compare to things these days which cannot occupy the cycle.

How about Trump hosting QAnon figures in the Oval Office?

https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/08/trump_hosts_prominent_conspiracy_nut_in_the_oval_office.html

We can't stay focused because in the kakistocracy it is just one continuous mudflow through our lives.

And yes, "mud" is a euphemism.

I think you're greatly overestimating how long the suit was in the news. It was faux outrage in the left wing blogosphere over criticism that never existed.

Exact same thing happened with Michelle Obama's sleeveless dress.

Interesting, I say mudflow and a little bit later I see this:

Bannon says: “The way to deal with [the media] is to flood the zone with shit.”

Of course it begs the question of accidentally or on purpose? It could be a classic case of "I meant to do that."

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Back in the good ole days, no one mentioned, say, Reagan's brown suits or Nancy's penchant for wearing expensive frocks, especially during the recession. Nor did anyone mock Jimmy Carter for sweater-gate (https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1977/02/05/president-carter-the-sweater-man/56e7a4cf-102a-4b09-8aa7-b19d9a06f50b/?utm_term=.572d684287e0_). Back then news was as serious as your boring rants.

As much as you think you disproved me, you've kind of reinforced my point.

It was not that Barack Obama's tan suit was an especially bad moment, it was that those were the good old days.

As opposed to sweeping porn actresses under the rug. Or more critically, as opposed to the President of the United States approaching Russian diplomats and telling them that he has gotten that pesky FBI agent out of the way.

No wonder everyone wants to avoid the news. The actual, factual, news is horrible.

If you can look at "lowest African-American unemployment in history" and call it "horrible," I think you need to re-evaluate your standards.

But that tan suit tho

Respond

Add Comment

Do you notice Tom, that when people seek to defend Trump, they tend to cite things that have little to do with Trump?

I mean if you come to this site you certainly should know the 10 or 20 year graph of black unemployment.

http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-essential-washington-updates-hold-fact-check-black-unemployment-rate-1517364943-htmlstory.html

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

The news cycle has always been about entertainment, and in this era of clickbait and limited attention spans, you have to keep generating new content at a faster pace.

Also, the people writing the news are mostly living in a self-contained bubble that warps their perception of what is both news and what news is "dated" to readers. That's why when you go check google news or whatnot, the top story will often be not the recent important event of the last 24 hours, but second or third layer responses to said event by various political actors. For instance, I think the first I heard of the Kavanaugh assault allegation was not "Kavanaugh Accused of Sexual Assault in High School" but "Republicans Respond to Kavanaugh allegations" . And It required some digging to actually find the text of the letter, because it had been pushed off the top of the news feed.

Respond

Add Comment

Because what you call "news" should actually be called "propaganda."

What plays is what the media thinks possesses the greatest persuasive value at the moment.

Respond

Add Comment

The news cycle has gotten shorter because the revenue model of online platforms requires the continual generation of new content in order to bring users back to the platform. Additional stories about existing topics lead to diminishing returns, whereas online platforms monetize off of the number of page views and clicks per day. Offline news outlets are pulled forward by the online outlets and are forced to play catch up with the news cycle that plays out online.

In addition, political content is the cheapest sort of content for the media. They don't have to pay the politicians. Sports, drama, comedy, etc. require them contribute to some significant incomes. CNN doesn't have to write a check to San Fran Nan to get her to stand in front of a camera. Covering an NFL game is a much bigger expense than a DC news briefing.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

There's a large and important new industry whose main product is distraction and outrage, and somehow at the same time it has arisen, we're all constantly distracted and outraged.

Respond

Add Comment

Seems like traditional media are adopting click-bait strategies to drive viewership/subscriptions without high-quality underlying content. Everything is very exciting/upsetting when you read the headline, but 2 sentences in, you're done. But, they better have the next attention grabbing headline ready for you, or you're going to find something to read on Reddit. Related to the 'frothy' argument, but driven by the news industry, not reader opinion.

Respond

Add Comment

You focus on demand forces related to the news cycle, but I think this is a supply side issue. As legacy media budgets shrink due to competition and changing media consumption patters, there's less money for extensive, expert, in-depth coverage. Their cost structure therefore forces them to instead report many shallow depth stories that don't require much thought or work. The mainstream media's pundits are another example of this. Who are these people? Do they even have any expertise? Who knows, but let's have them discuss this issue. It's cheap easy to produce reality-show content that fills the schedule.

Respond

Add Comment

Some of you seem to be acting like "if the media didn't have Stormy Daniels, they'd have to invent her!"

Guys, they didn't have to invent her.

I get covering Stormy, at least a little bit and at least in a Supermarket checkout magazine kind of way. But at the (ridiculously long) peak of Stormy coverage, we saw CNN devote hours to this pablum. There would be panelists waiting to parse her inane tweets. 4 panelists ready, poised to spout crap. And the implied promise was: this will bring down the narcissistic goof. Over in the real world, we know it’s clickbait for fools. Stormy will monetize her assets as she’s always done (from her boobs to her “book”), and no one will care. We know that as a civilian Trump fooled around. And that he’s got marginally more class than Bill Clinton, but only marginally. She doesn’t matter and that should have been apparent early on. That she’s had this shelf life means CNN (eg) is desperate and has nothing else. (And that sex sells still.)

I don't watch cable news, and I don't think Tyler Cowen does either. It has become it's own kind of mudslide (because four people shouting at a table is the cheapest television you can produce).

And it is true that pocket cell phones have thrust headlines into our daily lives.

Still, I think the daily fodder for all that is completely different in this age. Maybe in the old days there was a controversy for partisans to get excited about frequently, but more than ever we have things for serious people to worry about.

And people who want quiet lives start to get upset when they are reminded.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

I'd love to hear Tyler talk about why we see few libertarian voices talking about the problems of this breaking of norms and about voting. It seems to me that a clear, representative system, with a working federal government, is important regardless how big or small one wants the government to me. Instead, they talk taxes.

Taxes change all the time. They'll keep changing, and they are always in play. The base contract between government and governed, not so much, and yet, it's changing.

Respond

Add Comment

"If people don’t frame events in a common way, then a discussion of those events might not last very long. Conversation will return very quickly to the underlying differences in worldviews, and discussion of any particular event will get trampled by a much larger philosophical debate. "

So it's a bit like talking about the weather?

Respond

Add Comment

This is just what you do when a horse is loose in the hospital.

https://vimeo.com/268233557

Respond

Add Comment

I suspect a lot of it has to do with a narrowing of scope.

It used to be that you had all sorts of divergent opinions represented across the spectrum. Andrew Sullivan, for instance, could straddle between camps and keep readers from several. We allowed people to be wrong but interesting.

Today, when I open a liberal piece the authors pretty much all march in lockstep. Abortion, gender, global warming, voter ID laws, gay marriage, Kavanaugh, immigration, inequality, right to work, healthcare nationalization, hate speech, affirmative action ... all of these are value judgments for which there is only one allowed liberal position. The differences between authors are small and almost always about how to implement the correct values. When people do step out of line, the social media hate machine gets into gear and they end up ostracized or forced into self denunciation.

This is also happening on the conservative side, though I see more vibrant disagreements still running about. You have people who believe conservatism should be largely libertarian and are active supporters of gay marriage, but may also be strong supporters of ending the marriage tax penalty and strongly pro-life. You have some that are strongly evangelical and opposed to gay marriage on religious grounds, but for increased rates of immigration. That said, there is a large and growing contingent who believe that lockstep is the best course so the new opinions added by writers is also continuing to drop.

Even worse, we routinely play degrees of separation. Liberals who engage well with conservatives and try to take their best points and make them compatible with conservatism end up getting tarred by association. Conservatives, likewise, get excommunicated if they acknowledge liberals when their positions are defensible from some conservative ground.

These days news has a short half life because all the interesting dynamics that allowed both sides to raise new evidence, to think about things differently, and to have an evolving understanding of some momentous occasion simply cannot happen.

The quicker we descend into virtue signalling the more boring a story becomes. These days I find that virtually every story has two set narratives within a few hours. Both sides engage mainly to snipe and the social media hate machine sucks the engagement process dry. Without substantial disagreements there really is no point in reading.

Respond

Add Comment

As I see it, political discourse has migrated further into ideology aka mythology. There's nothing to argue about in mythologies, they're untethered.

Cause when love is gone, there's always justice.
And when justice is gone, there's always actuality.
And when actuality is gone, there's always mythology. Hi Mythology!

(Thanks, L Anderson.)

Good observations, but here's hoping we can reclaim the ..

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reality-based_community

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0u3ELUm0IGo

The loud minority, look at 4chan. It's really, really easy to abuse democratic values. Like Troy Aikman says, renting ain't for him.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Perhaps news is not only news, but people with agendas attempting to capture the narrative.

In the old days of national news networks, major newspapers the narrative was controlled and stable.

Now, with a plethora of sources, the battle to control the narrative is continuous.

Respond

Add Comment

Mass media outlets are reacting to the shrinkage of their audiences by telling scandalous stories with greater frequency.

Respond

Add Comment

You think the news cycle is short in 2018?

Check it out when I arrive...

Respond

Add Comment

Politically polarized = the right has given up to democrats almost everything the democrats wanted, either through cowardice (non popular for shutting down government for example), or by supreme court. Now, the republicans don't want to budge anymore.

A: There is no compromise in politics anymore!
B: What gains you democrats have made are you willing to give up, for something you think is more important, or what are you willing to give the republicans in exchange for something you consider necessary?
A: Nothing!

Compromise = the other side giving us everything we want for nothing.

In short, in reality, democrats and republicans have compromised, Republicans, despite controlling the congress for the last 8 years has not cut any programs the democrats hold dear, but not expanded them either. Don't mention meals on wheels, the actual cuts were minuscule!!! In return, the democrats are not seriously mentioning how republicans have sold out their voters by not balancing the budget, and the insane amounts spent on the military industrial complex, and the pharmaceutical-hospital industrial complex.

Who is the loser in all this? The person who wants fiscal discipline.

The sequester in 2013 was a compromise that worked, spending went down, and both sides were mad about it which is how you know it was a good compromise. I wish we could have another of those.

Republican voters, like Democratic ones, mainly just want their team to win. The policies are secondary.

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

For those who can face our modern reality unblinking, Edward Luce answers Tyler Cowen.

https://www.ft.com/content/766918c0-cd26-11e8-b276-b9069bde0956

It's gated. Can you summarize?

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

I'd put my money on the last hypothesis. Technology makes the whole "read-process-reply-publish" cycle is shorter i.e., in the past, responsive articles published in a couple days. Now, a couple hours.

This is the correct answer of course.

The News Cycle's, migration from media to newspapers to magazines to weekend talk shows, now circumvents all the editorialized hierarchy of the past (similar to a sales funnel), and favors agitation, indignation, outrage, excitement and ideology and over incremental analysis.

Which is the natural consequence of eliminating the curatorial cycle from 'gossip', and therefore weaponizing emoting, ridicule, shaming, rallying, gossip, and reputation destruction, over their continuous deflation into logical, rational, empirical, reciprocal, argument.

Now, what the Overton Window hasn't exposed yet, is that the male and paternal proxy for violence (competitive strategy) is deflation of emotion, gossip, ridicule et al into logical, rational, empirical, reciprocal, coherent prose. But the female ad maternal proxy for violence (competitive strategy) is emoting, ridicule, shaming, rallying, gossip, and reputation destruction.

So as we have increasingly added women to the franchise in all walks of life, and feminized education and the media in response to 70% of consumption determined by women, and now the majority of the academy supported by women, we should (and did) see the female method of political competition (gossip) replace the male method of political competition (argument).

The problem we face is that you can't put Pandora's chaos back in her box so to speak, and there is no means available to us that will restore 'scientific' discourse, because in the enlightenment era, when our Constitution was written, there was no means of separating Truthful and Scientific from Untruthful and Unscientific speech. And so we have free speech rather than truthful speech. (And Science and international law ('Reciprocity") is now the universal language of truthful speech.)

Majoritarian (monopoly) democracy with universal franchise under easy divorce and single motherhood destroyed the family as the central unit of reproduction, production, and commons-selection(politics). Majoritarian (monopoly) democracy without retention of the british model of houses for each of the classes, destroyed the market for commons between the classes.

So instead of conducting our debates with in the family and then conducting trades (exchanges) in the government, we compete by propaganda OUTSIDE of the government resulting in, as always, elections determined by the undecided, uninterested, uninformed, favoring the undermining of rule of law, and reciprocity, in favor of incremental rule by description in favor of proportionality, since this is all that they can understand (intuit) in the midst of chaos.

This means (and resulted in) the gradual drift left unto the point of revolution.

Which is where we are today.

Curt Doolittle
The Propertarian Institute
Kiev, Ukraine

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment

Respond

Add Comment