thoughts on an article

concerning this article: The Immigration Ban is a Headfake, and We’re Falling For It

This article itself takes on the same dramatic tone that it’s telling us can be so distracting, but it magnifies a point about the pitfalls of both our news outlets and our news consumption habits. The author draws a hypothetical narrative that Trump’s executive orders were timed and made intentionally controversial to serve as a distraction from other political activities. This is a plausible scenario, but whether or not it is true is an unanswerable question. More importantly, asking it would be distracting from the most fundamental issue at hand: people aren’t reading the news beyond the headlines.

When I say beyond “headlines” I mean beyond the most dramatic reports. When I say reading the “news” I mean reading legitimate, unbiased news sources. I mean picking up the newspaper (paper or digital) and reading more than just the front page. I don’t mean obtaining all of your news from shared links which one may or may not even click on. The majority of shared news on a feed is all the same news report repackaged, which not only enforces your sense of security among like-minded people but also tricks you into thinking that 1) you have “read the news” and 2) that news is all that is happening in the world.

Politics, government systems, and economics are complex fields that create the structures we live in, but most of our understanding of them is built solely on our reactions to their policies. This limits the effectiveness with which change can be made and (as proven in the article) distracts us from the big picture. What I’m urging then is a collective push toward self-education. That could mean reading the news, getting a book on public policy, or listening to a political podcast. That could mean going to the library to find a book on the history and process of executive orders, or researching how many signatures for what kind of petition will get you in which level court. It could be as simple as googling a politician’s name you don’t know or the workings of a particular proposed tax code. Or just reading the newspaper beyond the headlines.

This is something I’ve felt very strongly about for a long time and I can only justify this long post by saying that I really, truly believe there is a combination of strength, means, and good-willed intention in our generation which can be a powerful force for the betterment of society. But we cannot be lazy in our education. That is how slow-moving beasts slip by.