The Impact of Instantaneous, Global, 24 Hour, Bad News

Now it can be quite normal for those of an older generation to look back on their youth as some sort of golden age and I’m no exception to this. In my defence, however, I did grow up during the 50’s and 60’s, the latter of which was recently referred to on Radio 4 as “a golden age, the likes of which we are unlikely ever to see again”.  So, maybe members of, what I refer to as “the lucky generation”, have some justification for our memories.

Interestingly, we also grew up during the Cold War when the threat of nuclear annihilation, the so called “Mutually Assured Destruction” or “MAD” was also very real. The Cuba Missile Crisis probably being the epitome of those times. At which time I was a member of Her Majesty’s Forces with responsibility for maintaining the War Room map in Germany. Now there’s a claim to fame for you. Well, probably, more by luck than judgement, the human race survived. Although it might well have been a close run thing. So, why am I worried?


Well, much as we tried not to think about it, the effect of that Cold War climate and the persistent, imminent threat that it generated, was unlikely not to have had an impact on our thinking. The world is still here, albeit facing the greater threat of climate change. However, what I’m concerned about today (and as pervasive as the climate of those Cold War times) is summed up in the title of this blog. Along with the unhealthy effect that that that may well be having on a new generation. I further worry that its insidious nature is in danger of having a really detrimental effect of the wider society and I use the word “insidious” because at least we knew that nuclear weapons weren’t a good thing.

Now, anyone who’s ever read, listened to or watched the news knows that the majority of it is bad news. The good stuff hardly seems to figure. It’s almost as if it was a side issue and “bad” news becomes “the” news. Another factor is its global and instantaneous nature. It wasn’t so long ago that news spread far less quickly. So that, by the time, it reached these shores, it was a report of something that had occurred some days before; probably from somewhere far away. Then there is the fact that is 24 hour news that doesn’t ease up. All of this, it should be noted, direct to your mobile, a device that seems to create an imperative in itself. This, one which, if reports of the number of times people use daily it are credible, means that it tends not to be ignored. And that’s before we get on to the vituperative nature of much of the social media that surrounds us. Now, I’m no technophobe but it seems to me that we might have a perfect storm.

So, do I have cause for concern that we might be going through a sea change that will do us more harm than good?

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