Friday, August 26, 2011

Short Attention Spans ... What?

Ok, we have been warned not to make predictions.  Let me make a few anyway. 

Unless Qaddafi is found, the Libya story will face from North American media outlets, as the focus turns to the breakup of Derek Jeter and Minka Kelly Hurricane Irene.  East Coast bias in US media is always present, but is amplified when NYC, Boston, and DC are threatened.  Already my facebook status feed has shifted from Libya to hurricane preparations.  I never did expect the class flirt from my old high school to become an expert on Hurricane preparation, but she has lived in Florida long enough to go through this enough times.

And Irene, if it is not quite as bad as it is feared, will soon be overcome in media by 9/11 anniversaries.  I did my first few interviews yesterday, and have already prepared a column for Currrent Intelligence (probably to be posted in the first week of September). 

The media has a short attention span and so do we (nobody is forcing my FB friends to shift their focus).  Plus local emergencies will, of course, crowd out distant crises.  The strange part will be the obsession about a round number (10) that gives more weight to an historical event than to current ones. 

I am not saying we should not mark the anniversary, and I will be thinking about that day and year much over the next couple of weeks (well, that and where to find good beer while in Seattle for the annual American Political Science Assn meeting).  I am just noting that we have a short attention span, and there are a few distractions up ahead from the events in Libya.  So, squeeze out the blog posts, tweets, op-eds and such now because the focus will be turning away from Libya if I know my international crises media coverage.

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