This past week a former associate of mine posted a thought provoking article about the Pandemic. It included some interesting comments about gas lighting and how certain political persuasions, in and out of media, use the tactic to discredit what is in fact the truth. This should worry all of us. In recent years we’ve been witness to an ongoing assault on the nation’s news media. It’s no wonder the number of print and broadcast journalists on the nations unemployment rolls has soared in recent months. And who cares anyhow? After all, they, and their work have been denounced as fake. The gas lighting tactic has been around for a long long time. The big lie…just keep repeating it and people will start believing it. It was very effective in 1930’s Europe.
I’m paying very close attention to what’s going on out there. For me, mass gatherings are a no no. Hanging out with a bunch of friends isn’t in the cards right now. But a trip to the grocery store, a walk into town, picking up some take out at a favorite restaurant, all while maintaining a safe distance and wearing face masks, is actually enjoyable (well, except for the face masks). I never thought I’d go to the bank wearing a face mask to withdraw money. We’ve been given an opportunity of a lifetime to see the world as if God hit the pause button. Everything has come to a stop. Interestingly, smog choked cities are seeing blue sky again. With people-less national parks, the wildlife is having a holiday. Black bears now spotted frolicking all over Yosemite. People are doing things again that they haven’t done in decades. Playing board games, working on jigsaw puzzles, cooking at home. Families eating together at the dinner table. And listening to the sounds of silence (sorry Simon and Garfunkel).
For most of us, this will be the biggest story of our lives. As a broadcaster, and as a news person, the thirst for information is almost unquenchable. Kudos to the broadcast executives who have made the tough decision to not layoff on air staff. Now, more than ever, local news, local information, a local “friend” coming out of the radio or on TV is essential. In our lifetimes, it’s never been more important. Everybody is impacted. Nobody is left behind on this story, which by the way will be continued long after the pandemic.
It’s amazing what we take for granted. This episode in our lives will end one of these days in the not too distant future and our lives will begin to return to a new normal. I wonder if we’re smart enough to have learned anything from all of this or, as the philosopher George Santayana put it, are we condemned to repeat it? I sure as hell hope not.