Bob Davis Podcasts Radio Show Number 59.
In Podcast 585-Goodbye 2016 Guest Andrew Davis and I have a father and son discussion of some of the big takeaways from 2016 and a look ahead to 2017. This isn’t one of those big stories of the year countdowns that populate the media at the end of every year. Just some thoughts about the year from both of us. What we have seen and what we thought was significant.
Of course in the United States, the big story of the year was Election 2016. Father and son talk about the winners and losers this year and how to stay informed going into 2017. The biggest loser of 2016 was traditional broadcast and cable television news and what is generally referred to as the mainstream media. This year though, you could add broadcast talk radio to the list. The biggest offense for these outlets was the penchant for predicting the future, picking a winner and endorsing a candidate.
From the media perspective the biggest winner was social media and You Tube. According to a recent study by Pew, more people got their news from social media and You Tube than ever before. This is a tectonic shift away from broadcast radio news and news delivered over traditional sources like broadcast television and cable television. This shift has provoked efforts to control what news and links people see and hear on social media sources.
In Podcast 585-Goodbye 2016, the biggest surprise in 2016, for traditional media and politics in 2016 was Trump’s Electoral Victory. For political elites inside the beltway and those who believed what old line traditional media told them, the emergence of Donald J. Trump in the primaries, his nomination as the Republican presidential candidate and his electoral victory was a shock. The biggest factor in politics in 2016 were the misconceptions fostered by terrible reporting and analysis.
Late in the election season the Clinton campaign and the White House introduced the idea that the Russians somehow ‘hacked’ the US election. While a convenient explanation for bereft democrats, even at this late date proof of a Russian Interference is lacking. Moreover, proof the alleged Russian intervention resulted in actually effecting the outcome of the election is even more elusive. Father and son disagree on this topic. This disagreement that carried over from the radio show to intense discussions with friends well into the evening.
With change back on the front burner in 2017 our discussion turns to how to get good information. There will be a need to evaluate the performance of the Trump administration and arguments against its initiatives. With so called fake news, opinion journalism rather than good investigative journalism, having good sources is more important that ever.
Once you have goos sources, you also need context. Good sources include source materials such as reports, think tank studies, documents, and live video. Context comes from reading history, source documents, non fiction books on various topics and your interests. Both of us caution against pop culture books which are nothing more than the same type of rehashing and alarmist coverage you see in social media, cable news and talk radio. They are designed to persuade, rather than inform. Certainly one can say think tanks have biases, which are usually fairly obvious, but reliance on source material from different parts of the spectrum and academic interests gives you the background and context to understand the biases without being manipulated.
Finally, the big issues in 2017 to watch will be the Trump Team’s transition, foreign policy issues including the South China Sea, ISIS, Europe, Russia and China, foreign trade, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel’s role in US foreign policy, United States Economic policy. Politically what the 115th congress does and how it does what it does will be significant stories in 2017. Supporters of the new President will be hard pressed almost from day one to defend his actions, and the opposition is treading through brand new territory. Both sides will need objective facts.
Finally, we have a little fun with the millennial obsession with smart phones and the hand wringing over ‘so many’ celebrity deaths in 2016 and thank the sponsored, supporters and listeners to the Bob Davis Podcasts throughout 2016. Happy New Year. See you in 2017.