Sunday, June 12, 2011

Heard the News?

A few moments ago, I ran a couple of ‘home pages’ for news. The first thing that came up was a feature about Lady Gaga’s sister…not the pop star, just her sister, making a red carpet debut. The second was about Kate Middleton wowing people in a $6,000 dress. On the TV, the big news is about some U.S. congressman sending risqué photos to people via his phone, and which team will win a largely meaningless trophy after a hockey game.

As seeming afterthoughts there are stories about Libya and some flooding in Manitoba. There was little of what I’d call important news, and certainly nothing in depth. This worries me, because despite the increasingly connected world we live in, obtaining ‘hard’ news is getting to be much more difficult. The noise to signal ratio, to use an old radio term, is just too high. That makes it a little more dangerous for preppers.

In many scenarios, the ability to recognize the onset of a crisis is crucial to your ability to deal with that crisis. Is there a food crisis? Possibly, but to find out what the outlook is for the world’s food supply will require a lot of hard work and digging. Is a financial crisis immanent? Maybe, but trying to sort out some good solid advice in the masses of information and disinformation out there is a Herculean task.

Part of the problem is that much news coverage is geared to keeping the attention of the MTV generation. If you can’t get it into a 60 second sound bite you’re going to lose the audience. It leaves little time for digging into the heart of the matter, if anyone still cared to do so.

It is a situation that you as a prepper need to remedy for yourself. Turn off Family Guy, and try to find some in depth news in that 200 channel cable package. Subscribe to some magazines that don’t just report on Justin Bieber’s new tattoos. Buy a newspaper that doesn’t have a page 3 girl and does have a international news section. If you’re on the net, look for a discussion board about the world at large, not just a specific hobby or interest.

Importantly, find some news sources that do not fit in with your particular viewpoint. It makes an neccessary check and balance on your own worldview to have to consider and weigh the merits of opinions contrary to your own.

Will this keep you safe? Of course not. At least not until newspapers start carrying predictions of earthquakes and tsunamis (and getting them right!). However, if you are well informed, you might know what your local government can and cannot do in the event of a natural disaster, and allow you to plan accordingly.

It’s not easy to sort the wheat from the chaff in the information world, but it is a task you need to start doing. Find those sources you consider reliable and stay informed. Knowledge is power, and the more you have, the better prepared you’ll be.

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