The news cycle vs. current events

The other day, while badgering my fellow Notewriters to blog more often, I mentioned that current events are different from the news cycle, and are still important to dissect and blog about. This distinction between the news cycle and current events was sparked by economist Arnold Kling’s recent post on where he gets the news (found in one of last week’s Nightcaps). Basically, the news cycle is terrible. I rarely pay any attention to it. CNN, a left-of-center media outlet that almost everybody has heard of, has on its front page today (the wee morning hours of 4-23-17) a great example of the news cycle:

  • Kellyanne Conway to Dana Bash: OK, you went there
  • Conway says asking about her husband’s anti-Trump tweets is a ‘double standard’
  • Analysis: Trump’s score-settling creates jarring contrast
  • WSJ: Trump to ask North Korea to dismantle nuclear arsenal before talking sanctions relief
  • Opinion: Macron’s bromance with Trump will come at a price
  • Biographer: Trump has lied since youth
  • Melania Trump plans state dinner on her own
  • Stelter: One Trump lie is crystal clear

You get the idea, and remember that CNN is a well-established, long-running media outlet. Other media outlets that focus on the news cycle are just as bad, if not worse (at least CNN pretends, most of the time, to wrap its clear bias in a cloth of objectivity). This is a far cry from the concept of “current events.” Current events, in my view, are arguments about ideas, events, or even people that take place between at least two sides in specific time frame. Most of the time, “current events” involve using events (usually) or people (rarely) to defend or attack an idea. You see the difference? Have a better definition?

The news cycle is largely garbage, but it can still be useful, especially for international news. I never visit RealClearPolitics, for example, because it focuses on the news cycle, but I stop by RealClearWorld, which usually conveys the news cycles of other countries, once or twice a day. Even though I’m consuming a news cycle, I’m still learning something because it’s a news cycle about a place very different from my own.

Five or ten years from now, the bullet points from CNN will be useless and forgotten, but the arguments put forth into the stream of current events will be useful and maybe even prized. What baffles me is that the news cycle, while almost universally loathed, is far more popular in terms of consumption than current events. Doesn’t everybody know how to use Google by now?

2 thoughts on “The news cycle vs. current events

  1. Quite. Almost everything in the news cycle is noise, of no importance at all. There are things happening though, some important, some not. Some fit the knowledge of your Notewriters, some don’t. Same with me, some fit my interests, most don’t. We all have limited time, to read and to write, the trick is to make it something that has value in the future, or at least in a week. It’s why I’ve been here all these years and will continue.

    And, Brandon, your Nightcaps, are most useful. 🙂

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