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January 25, 2013

NASH: Is any of this really news?

Lately there has been some kind of change in what has been perceived and what we see as news. I don’t know when it started, but now when you turn on a show that supposedly will tell you what is going on in the world, you are bombarded by things that seem like they shouldn’t be considered important to anybody. Day after day you turn on the television or click on the Internet and you are instantly inundated with the mundane hour after hour.

Previously for something to be considered news it had to be sensational and newsworthy. But in recent years that trend has changed. I personally believe that all of this is being driven by what is popular on social media. It seems what people are reading about or clicking on is driving what is news and it is increasingly becoming popular to watch as people fall from the pedestal that we have built for them and waited for them to fall from.

Last week cyclist Lance Armstrong was part of a much-anticipated interview with Oprah Winfrey concerning his use of performance-enhancing drugs in his quest for seven Tour de France titles. In two 90-minute programs, he came clean on nearly two decades of misdeeds. Most people have seemed willing to forgive him for his blood doping and drug use, with the “everybody was doing it” defense, but few people have been willing to overlook the lying about it for all these years.

I am not going to defend what Lance Armstrong did in any way. I would like to point out that I watched the first night of the Oprah interview and very little was said about the LIVESTRONG foundation that he founded and the fact that he has raised more than half a billion dollars for cancer research. While this doesn’t justify what he did, maybe it should be taken into consideration when we judge him in hindsight.

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