Saturday, February 14, 2009

You're Only Good As Your Last Plane Crash

This past week featured another strange view into the business of the mainstream media and how news-cycles work and also how the public attention span is very short. Earlier in the week the airliner captain that safely piloted the disabled aircraft into the Hudson River in New York was hailed as a hero and made guest appearances on TV shows such as Larry King and David Letterman. No doubt his phone was ringing off the hook with possible book deals or more offers for interviews, etc.

Suddenly the entire news-cycle changed when a smaller propeller-driven aircraft with a few notable persons such as a well known 9/11 widow activist, two members of musician Chuck Mangione's band, and a well loved cantor and others perished in a fiery crash into a home, apparently due to ice on the wings. Suddenly the hero captain of Hudson airliner incident seemed to be all but forgotten.

This is unfortunately how news-cycles work, and how long the public attention span is. And there are more examples to go around. In November, the voters spoke loud and clear that they wanted change in Washington and elected Barack Obama by a convincing win. But just this past week, the president had to vigorously campaign for his economic stimulus package because some conservative radio talk show hosts managed to demonize the bill, while actually hardly mentioning any particular reasons to really oppose the bill other than being antiObama. Probably with the national press conference, the president swayed many back to supporting his legislation once again, again proving the short attention span of the American public.

In the case of the airline industry, it was only as good as their last plane crash. In the case of the president, he managed to remind the public once again why he was elected in the first place; to fix the economy. Often, for the American public the last impression is the lasting impression it seems. So much for the theory of first impressions. Maybe attention deficit disorder is far more common than first realized.


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