Should it or should it not come as a surprise that 17% of Americans get no news each and every day? The figure comes from a Pew Research Center study. I just can’t figure out whether to be shocked or not. The ‘news’ is even worse for 18-24 year-olds of which 31-percent receive no news daily. For 30-34 year-olds the number is 22 percent. This level of disconnect of people from the world around them is astounding! The implications for this country are frightening. What makes America great is the melding of people from different parts of the world into the culture of the United States.
This melding is achieved through living a common experience. Sharing the impact of events over time shapes people’s thinking and views of the world and themselves. The driver of this process is news. Information which allows people to make judgements and form opinions and in some cases take action. News draws people into society making them feel at least affected, if not part of what they read, hear and see. In essence the news facilitates what it is to be an American.
News drives democracy. It drives voting and spurs people to get involved in their communities. News is education for everyone, from the very young to the very old. The timely reporting of events both near and far from us serves as the basis of the growth of our people and nation. When 17% of our people voluntarily opt not to know the who, what, why and whens of life, it signals a very dangerous trend of self-censorship. If information is power, we have a generation that is opting for powerlessness. A people ignorant of issues opens the door to abuse by public officials, organizations and businesses large and small. They are laying the welcome mat for despots, endangering the country itself.