Veteran CBS newsman and former Star-Telegram reporter Bob Schieffer asked in his commentary for this newspaper last week if citizens are more informed with today’s deluge of news sources or if they are just overwhelmed.
Schieffer’s just released new book, “Overload,” is subtitled, “Finding the truth in today’s deluge of news.”
I have had the opportunity to spend a little time with him outside the television studio as a result of the close relationship his brother Tom and I share.
That friendship was established during the time Tom Schieffer led the Texas Rangers Baseball Club in developing the public-private partnership with Arlington that created The Ballpark in Arlington.
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While my conservative friends likely see the CBS icon as part of the left-leaning national media, I know him as a man of indisputable integrity legitimately concerned about the changes in the ways we are informed about … well, everything.
Schieffer is not the only one reaching the possible conclusion that it’s all just too much to get our heads around. While trying to do so, we come to conclusions on our own that confirm what we already think about the important issues of the day.
Such was the explanation recently shared by Scott Adams during an interview with Tucker Carlson on his weekday Fox News show.
It was Adams, the creator of the “Dilbert” comic strip, explained Donald Trump’s appeal very early in the presidential campaign and predicted he would win the presidency. He is the author of nonfiction works of satire, business and speculation.
His new book, “Win Bigly,” carries the subtitle, “Persuasion in a world where facts don’t matter.”
When asked by Carlson what’s to become of all the confusion over Russia’s involvement, if any, in influencing the outcome of last year’s campaign, he explains using the same word as Schieffer.
There’s “so much Russian stuff that people are overwhelmed,” he said.
“People can’t really follow the complexity of it, they are sort of lost in it, so they default to taking the side they were going to take anyway.
“The president … has found the only drama where he’s the most popular person in it.”
While Trump haters dismiss Adams — one commenter on his appearance said he couldn’t wait till “that dumb grin is wiped off that boiled egg of a head” — there is no denying evidence that he is onto something.
According to a recent poll published in Politico, almost half of us believe the media makes up stories about Trump while only a little more than a third of voters think the media do not fabricate stories.
Still worse, according to Gallup, is the remarkably low standing of Congress with its approval rating at a miserable 13 percent.
Add to those dismal numbers to CNN’s report that only 37 percent of Americans say the Democrat Party “stands for something” and you have some interesting data to support Adams’ conclusion that the president is the most popular person among those in this national drama.
In any event, it is at least interesting that we have a respected career journalist and a popular cartoonist both reaching the same conclusion of us all being overwhelmed.
Adams easily affirms that we somehow have an inner instinct to reach decisions in spite of all the confusion and complexities we may face.
Schieffer optimistically says “our culture will eventually come out of the turmoil wrought by the communications revolution and we’ll be strengthened by it.”
Some just released good news would put their predictions right on target. The Consumer Confidence Index has recorded its highest level in almost 17 years.
In spite of all the negativity, overwhelmed or not, people feel quite hopeful about the future.
Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.