News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

We’re all on edge

Here at the office of The Nugget — your hometown newspaper — we consider ourselves among the fortunate ones.

The press, like it or not, are deemed essential in times of crisis, so we get to work through this global pandemic.

So most of our work these days centers around this crisis, and the pain and disruption that it is causing.

All of us have seen friends and loved ones lose jobs over the past two months. One in four Americans have been forced out of their jobs. That’s pretty depressing for the out-of-work, who may struggle to find value in their lives and to pay their bills. And it’s depressing for those of us still employed.

But people who work in the media tend to be different from most folks in that we thrive on conflict. This newspaper suffers from the same affliction.

And for good reason. It’s not that we relish bad things happening to people, it’s simply that conflict is what makes for good story telling.

So we hope you’ll believe us when we state, things are not as bad as you see, read, and hear in the national media, especially in the electronic media.

Clickbait is a term that applies to the headlines in electronic media that are specifically designed to get you to click on their link, transporting you (they promise) to a story that will change your life.

And with a fourth of us unemployed and a third of who’s left working from home, we’re all spending more time getting our news from social media. This isn’t a harmless practice. You know this when you lay down your smart phone in anger.

But perhaps you already scroll past all of the nonsense: speculation of what might happen or a story about how one person is incensed, usually on behalf of a third party, for what they interpret to be an offense.

Well-intended people, masons of the pathway to Hell, use social media as a platform to rise to the defense of someone who wasn’t actually offended. The Internet is well-populated with both amateur-police and amateur-journalists.

This has the effect of an Ouroboros, the snake eating its own tail.

Anger begets more anger and modern technology spreads conflict virally (excuse the pun), the effects of which are insidious, damaging our souls rather than our flesh.

As we emerge from two months of sheltering and begin the inevitable rebuilding of our society, please be kind to the people whom, for what ever reason, aren’t wearing a mask. And be kind to those people who are wearing masks.

We’ve all been cooped up for too long, getting our news from sources designed to make us angry. Our real-world social skills are a bit rusty. Please be patient with each other and rather than condemning someone’s actions, try to help those in need.

Tom Mullen


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