The Age of Transparency Part Two – The Fall of the Hero

anchormanPeople have evolved past the “anchorman” way of telling news, partially because of how little real journalism is getting done these days. News has devolved into mindless rhetoric and un-researched bias-based dribble to maintain a level of profitability that relies on people’s addiction to fear-porn, and narcissism.

New media is not entirely immune. An example of this is when news pages display high impact political news alongside tabloid level journalism. The simple act of displaying news stories this way seems inane at first. However, doing so creates confusion in the viewer’s mind that both articles may be of equal importance.  With this dynamic at play, news pages lose a level of credibility and put the user in the position of having to delve deeper in their own quest for the truth. Doing so now hinges on use of social media to search for and vet sources.

If you are a public figure, it is going to be especially difficult to hide your true self from the public eye. Let’s look at the example of heroes, specifically sport heroes of the last decade. The Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong’s and Oscar de la Hoyas of the world.  We’ve discovered at one time or another that they all have character flaws; they aren’t “perfect”. They all have their own personal problems and battles, just like us. This discovery is much in part to cell phone usage and the ease and proliferation of data exchange.

After some minor damage-control on our hero’s part, we can stay connected through thick and thin if we are a true fan of them. Following them on Twitter, staying fans on their Facebook page or following their blogs. This gives us an opportunity to empathize with them knowing they are human and have flaws too.

Politicians, by the nature of their job, are also in the public eye. Does it surprise anyone anymore when the guy with great Christian morals and family values turns out to have been cheating on his wife?  Does it surprise us when a guy running for office uses his phone for sexting and the pictures find their way onto the Internet? As more of these events and similar ones crop up, our minds will be tempered to filter out the noise, and after we’ve come to accept these moral dichotomies as human nature, we will become less distracted by the circus around them and more concerned with how well people are doing their jobs.

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