Last week, babysitting my three grandkids, I became more of a consumer of headlines than of the news. It was a real lesson for me. (More)
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The first such lesson in the headlines/whole story issue was watching the roll out of Obamacare. It was a necessarily complex piece of legislation dealing with one sixth of our economy. There were more details than would fit on a bumper sticker or even on a minivan covered with bumper stickers. As features of the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act became known, public support grew for the components even if they did not associate each feature with Obamacare. As a retired VP of Human Resources, I recognized the enormity of the communications challenges.
Last week President Obama’s budget was released. Given the challenges of caring for the three grandkids, I realized I was consuming the news in headline fashion. My initial reaction to the chained CPI was “I think that’s a mistake.” I told myself I would become better informed when my son and D-I-L returned. Just consuming headlines is not a way to be informed.
It is so easy to not remember the challenges of three small kids. I only had two but I have forgotten so much it isn’t even funny. My D-I-L posted a day by day chart with times and activities. It was a lifesaver for me and I’m sure for them it is second nature. Add to the week a winter storm warning which meant the preschool closed early and the schedule changed again. Add the first grader’s bus being stuck in the snow necessitating a drive to school. Add my catching the two year old’s cold and you get the picture of Nana juggling as fast as she can. I volunteered and I’m not asking for sympathy. What I am asking for is that we who are in different and less hectic times of life, realize that some of the people we talk with are headliners by necessity.
Headline news isn’t the whole story but it can give one the illusion of being informed. When we talk with Fred about issues and legislation, we need to find ways around the headline problem. Maybe, as with gun safety, personal stories will go beyond the headlines. We learned with marriage equality in Minnesota in 2012 that it was all about the personal stories.
It isn’t that busy parents of young kids don’t care about politics. It’s that they are juggling as fast as they can.
After all, if I believed only the headlines, I might think that Anne Frank was a Justin Bieber fan.