Two realities exist. There’s the reality we live, and then there’s the one that’s broadcast to your television, radio, social media and mobile devices. It’s best not to confuse the two. All me to explain.
When it comes to any insights provided by the mass media into the root causes of our public health challenges, including being warned far in advance of impending viral infections, we report a big failure.
So where does that leave those of us who want to use the mass media and global technology to engage residents in mobilizing around access to surviving and thriving services, and the prevention and treatment of health challenges during a public health crisis?
An endless stream of clutter
I would venture to guess that of all the content coming at you on your various devices, 90% is just noise. And, that’s not news to you. The biggest problem is the content that claims to be doing “something” — promoting organizations or individuals that purport to be involved in addressing social challenges but, sadly, producing few documented results. For this reason, we must be critical consumers and always seek data that indicate measurable and meaningful change.
The only way to know if problems are real, or solutions are actually helping your community, is to identify reliable data and, quite honestly, go see for yourself. The real work of helping each child, parent and grandparent is county-based for a number of important reasons, and one is that you can simply drive to most communities to see how people are doing and what services exists.
You have what you need to proceed with the work on ensuring ten vital services for surviving and thriving. You don’t require any content from news and media agencies to explain how your local world works.
We interrupt this article with breaking news
“This just in,” says the newscaster. “We’re living in a giant convoluted and mostly mindless world of media. Your mobile devices invite you to swim in a sea of distracting clutter during this era of colliding crises.”
Where to begin
Many of us guided by social justice and the belief that we are all in this pandemic together, are doing our best to keep up and make a difference. So why is it so difficult to create a national (or state or community) sustained dialogue about improving systems of care?
Why can’t our so-called progressive shows engage in sustained commentary on the collapse of a safety net for our most vulnerable families. Why do we not see published in local press to-do lists on how to fix a reality where parents report lacking of access to medical care, food and stable shelter? Why don’t national publishing companies publish books that inspire us to invent state systems to ensure safety and stability when economies collapse, instead of self-help books asking families to fix themselves without resources?
And as for movers, shakers and innovators, why don’t entities like TED (or any conference on health, safety and education) promote ideas that take on systemic challenges, instead of talks that tackle only a sliver of a problem? I don’t doubt the good intentions of most folks in the media (except the three-headed hydras who own most of the media corporations), we just need them to move on to what we call systems thinking that lead to positive results.
Speaking of hydras and their hypnotic spells, we are living in an unprecedented time on earth when many are opening their eyes to stark challenges. If you are reading this article, you have the power to find synergy with colleagues and friends. We can force multiply our problem-solving powers. The solutions to every problem the pandemic presents are staring us in the face.
Consume but with caution
Am I saying you should not keep up with current affairs? No. You should. But, do your research using reliable sources and read with a critical eye. Even when you read an article about health policy on COVID-19 or an evidence-based program to increase healthcare, you have to scrutinize every paragraph, check all data sources and find similar articles to compare and contrast.
Being informed is difficult, time-consuming work. The alternative is living under the hypnotic spell of the hydras, being asleep during one of the biggest disruptions on earth.
Please excuse any typos as I construct an article at 3am on only one cup of Joe. These stories are mine and mine alone. I do not represent any organization here. If one of my illustrations looks like a real human or hydra, that’s total coincidence. Words and images ©Dominic Cappello but share with everyone you know. Any questions? The mission awaits: www.tenvitalservices.org