Our All Consuming, Incomprehensible News Cycle
Nassim Taleb observed that "the opposite of education isn't ignorance but miseducation." With miseducation your head is stuffed, but stuffed with nonsense. That is equally true of current events as it is of pedagogy. The dangerous opposite of information isn't the absence of a signal, but disinformation. The victims of miseducation and disinformation are both brimming with knowledge, only of the wrong kind.
For example there is tension brewing in the Middle East:
Saudi Arabia's air force intercepted seven missiles fired from Yemen on Sunday and, in the debris that rained down on residential suburbs from the interceptions, one man was killed, the Saudis said in a statement.
Coalition forces spokesman Col. Turki Al Maliki said the missiles were fired from Yemen at four target areas, and all the missiles were intercepted and destroyed, according to the statement.
This isn't the first time the kingdom was the target of missile strikes from neighboring Yemen, but it is the first time there's been a fatality on Saudi soil. After previous interceptions, the Saudis responded with airstrikes on the Yemeni capital of Sana'a. The response to a fatal incident such as Sunday's is likely to be even more punishing.
It's part of an undeclared war between the Russian/Syrian/Iranian alliance on the one hand and the U.S./Saudi/Israeli grouping on the other. The post-ISIS region remains in flux, according to John Bolton. Although David Brennan of Newsweek uses hyperbolic language in his article, he is essentially correct in pointing out there are real foreign policy dangers facing the United States:
As carrier strike group commander Rear Admiral Steve Koehler told USNI News, “The threat picture in Syria is just crazy: How many different countries can you cram in one different place, where they all have a different little bit of an agenda? And you put a tactical pilot up there and he or she has to employ ordnance or make defensive counter-air decisions with multiple people.”
That would be news to most, and the public can be forgiven for not seeing it. Because the talking points ceaselessly trumpet Trump's subservience to Putin, and take every opportunity to emphasize Stormy Daniels' revelations as the big story. With the spotlight leaving all else in the dark, who could possibly imagine trouble in the shadows with Russia under those circumstances?
A similar kind of distortion is bending that other big headliner, the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook has been severely punished. It's stock value has dropped more than $70 billion since the news of its connection with the controversial company were first revealed. Never has "cool" so rapidly evaporated. Elon Musk has canceled SpaceX and Tesla's Facebook accounts.
But what is it being punished for? The chastisement of Facebook has been driven arguably less by its questionable data custodianship of private data and more by its association with the latest hate object of the media, Cambridge Analytica.