For over a year now I have been in the habit of scrolling through the Google news feed on my phone each morning as I eat my breakfast. Prior to starting this habit, I was criticized for not staying abreast of what was going on and, considering I was attempting political activism with regards to Climate Change, it was probably a fair comment.
I have long been aware that Google News Feed is not ideal. But it at least seemed a good starting point from which I could explore further given the scraps it threw me. It throws me a lot of sport (not my area of interest), a lot of celebrity gossip (no thanks), a few articles about tech stuff like new phones or computer games or EVs (again… rarely read those) and a few national/international articles about what I would consider “real news”.
What I didn’t realize is how limited the “real news” articles really were. This only came to light in the last 48 hours when I suddenly realized I hadn’t been offered a single article to read about the massive explosion in Beirut. I was kept up to date on this occurrence by P and I only realized that I hadn’t seen any articles when Google condescended to feature an ABC article about the locations of ammonium nitrate stores in Australia. In that article, Beirut was simply a background story.
What’s with that, Google? Beirut isn’t up there on your “important” list like Megan Markle and Ellen DeGeneres? I see how it is. I guess I deserve this. I’ve been lazy and so you’ve been feeding me whatever weird junk diet you see fit. Don’t worry. I’ll go and hunt my own News now. No more drive-through News for me.
The second wake-up call happened today when I answered a call from a “Private Number”. The caller turned out to be a politician! I have never been called by a politician before and was somewhat excited. I had quite a long chat with this woman. She was from the Labor Party and declared that she considers herself “more left-wing than the Greens”. I didn’t hide my stripes and she said all the right things about a few local “green” issues. I told her that a friend of mine was especially disappointed in the behaviour of the Labor party with regards to one specific local issue: a friend who has been a Labor supporter her whole life but was now having coffees with members of the Liberal Party because Labor had broken her heart. The woman claimed to be extremely sorry to hear about this and suggested I ask my friend to call her. She would be pleased to talk to her.
So I did. And guess what? My friend had sent this woman numerous emails and letters over the last 14 months detailing the community’s anxiety over and objections to a particular development application. And this woman, who claimed to be so concerned about the welfare of her constituents, hadn’t acknowledged or replied to a single letter or email.
What I learned from these two telephone conversations is that you can’t trust politicians. Left, right or centre… their only interest is getting you on side. Truth holds no value in their minds.
So there you go.