Ok, just want to ask; when did businesses start the holiday shopping season right after the Fourth of July? Just saying…now on to more important issues.
Just goes to show that if you’re more famous than me (which is just about everyone), you can get my ideas and thoughts published in the media. Case in point, the excellent RIck Steves article written for the LA Times (the entire article is printed below). He expresses exactly what I’ve been thinking and feeling over the last few years. For those not familiar with that name, Rick Steves has been writing and publishing travel guides to Europe since 1979 with a philosophy he calls Europe Through the Back Door. His books guide users on the best way to immerse oneself in the local culture; why stay at a Best Western or eat at McDonald’s while in Paris when you can do that at home.(?) Even though Rick and his company have gone on to be highly successful with their guidebooks, PBS shows, guided tours, travel products, etc., he has truly kept to his core principles.
In considering travel plans for 2016, whether domestic or international, I feel while there are very real international terrorist threats, they are probably no greater now than before the Paris attacks. In fact, the Paris terrorist attacks may have been able to occur due to complacency, with no recent high profile attacks on the western world. Now that it has happened, security will be as tight as ever, especially in public places such as airports and train stations, so this could be one of the safest times to travel. And as cliche as it sounds, if we don’t go on with our normal (or ‘new normal’) lives regarding travel, public events, etc…doesn’t that give the win to the terrorists? Would love to hear your thoughts! And when you finish Mr. Steves’ article (below) here’s another interesting article from a CNN contributor
Here’s the article in full;
L.A. Times Op-Ed: Tune Out Cable News and Turn Away Fear
By Rick Steves
I miss the days when people would say “Bon voyage” to travelers heading off. Today, Americans instead say “Travel safely.”
I travel a lot. In the last year or so I’ve been to Egypt, the West Bank, Israel, Turkey and Russia. My loved ones worry out loud: “Rick, do you think this is safe?” I always assure them, “As long as I’m not traveling through Chicago, I think I’ll be OK.”
After traveling and lecturing across the United States in recent months, it strikes me that our nation has never been so racked with fear. The paramount concern is “national security”: the fear that apocalyptic forces outside America’s borders — Islamic State, Ebola, immigrants from Latin America — will creep in and overwhelm us.
But the more I travel, the clearer it seems to me: Fear is for people who don’t get out much. These people don’t see the world firsthand, so their opinions end up being shaped by sensationalistic media coverage geared toward selling ads. Sadly, fear-mongering politicians desperate for your vote pile on too.
Commercial television news is hammering “the land of the brave” with scare tactics as never before. I believe the motivation is not to make us safer. It’s to boost ratings to keep advertisers satisfied and turn a profit.
When Walter Cronkite closed the evening news by saying, “And that’s the way it is,” I believe that, to the best of journalists’ knowledge, that really was the way it was. In those days, television networks were willing to lose money on their evening news time slot to bring us the news. It was seen as their patriotic duty as good corporate citizens.
But times have changed, and now corporations have a legal responsibility to maximize short-term profits for their shareholders. They’ve started sexing up, spicing up and bloodying up the news to boost ratings. And 24/7 news channels have to amp up the shrillness to make recycled news exciting enough to watch.
In a sense, news has become entertainment masquerading as news. Now an event is not news, it’s a “crisis.” Today it’s Islamic State militants and Ebola. Last month, the greatest threat civilization was apparently the National Football League turning a blind eye to domestic violence. Or was it racist cops? Or child immigrants at the Mexican border? Of course, these are serious issues. But hyping a news story as a “crisis” and lurching erratically from one to the next serves only to stir people up. Mix in negative political ads, and it can feel as if the world is falling apart.
The unhappy consequence: We end up being afraid of things we shouldn’t be — and ignoring things that actually do threaten our society, such as climate change and the growing gap between rich and poor.
It seems that the most fearful people in our country are those who don’t travel and are metaphorically barricaded in America. If we all stayed home and built more walls and fewer bridges between us and the rest of the world, eventually we would have something to actually be fearful of.
I’ve found that one partial solution is a simple one: travel.
The flip side of fear is understanding. And we gain understanding through travel. As you travel, you realize that we’re just 300 million Americans in a much wider pool of 7 billion people. It’s good for our national security to travel, to engage with the other 96% of humanity and gain empathy for people beyond our borders.
Don’t let fear-mongering politicians and ratings-crazed news channels shape the way you see our world. Get out there and experience it for yourself. Bon voyage.
3 thoughts on ““And that’s the way it is””
Thanks for sharing Peter! Like you, I have been thinking much the same thing. I have become more and more unwilling to watch or listen to any kind of TV or radio “news” as it is so geared to stoking fear. Ironically, many of my conservative friends and family have things half right when they complain about the “lame stream media.” Unfortunately, the alternatives they most often prefer are the ultimate in fear mongering – and, as a result, highly successful commercially.
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I am on the fence on the travel, however after watching an interview with Rick Steves and reading Erroll Southers, (and a few others) I agree wholeheartedly that we all should continue our daily lives and enjoy our travels. I just don’t want to be looking over my shoulder everywhere I go, be paranoid in a large crowd or profiling on an airplane. (We ALL do this one right?) Wait!, too much TV?? The worst for me is in the movie theaters. My love for going to the movies was almost shattered after the Colorado shootings, then the most recent in TN. We live in a different time now and as Peter said, this is our “new normal”. Turn off the TV, get outside, there is a whole world out there – most of it safe.
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Fewer than 1 in 3 Americans ever travel out of the country and it’s a safe bet that most of those are for cruises in the Caribbean or to Canada. Couldn’t agree more, Peter.
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