Feel the news buzz

Feel the news buzz

Radio UserLand, the software that runs this weblog, has a News Aggregator. Using it, I can subscribe to (free) news feeds from other blogs, from small specialized news sources, as well as from major media like the Guardian, BBC, NY Times, Google News, etc.

These stories appear in reverse chronological order in the News Aggregator. I can add stories from it to my blog, changing them, adding comments etc. It’s quite powerful. I currently get 60+ news feeds and get most my news this way. I check in with the Aggregator, then click through to stories I want to research in depth.

What’s been fascinating lately in reading the Aggregator is to see the vast amount of rumors, conjectures, outright lies, and delusions pretending to be “war news”. I was busy most of today on a big software project, so I didn’t check the Aggregator for, gasp, almost eight hours.

It was almost humorous to see the enormous number of stories, with wildly varying slants, about the siege of Baghdad Airport. We took the airport, we sure showed them, huh! Whoops, no we didn’t take it. Well, we sort of took it. It was a fierce battle! There was no battle, the cowards ran away! We have no dead. We have many dead. We shot ourselves / our allies again. The Republican Guard are spineless jellyfish, hold on, now they’re fighting like crazed weasels.

This isn’t news. This is idle chatter. But it is amusing to watch it scroll by in the Aggregator…

Wait! This just in! Saddam is dead. He died yesterday / last week / when the bombing started. No he didn’t. He’s alive and well. Well, he’s injured, or escaping, or giving up, or fighting to the death. He’s letting his sons run the war!

I’ve seen stories say all of the above about Saddam the past several days, and the obvious fact is none of the “reporters” writing these stories have any more of a clue about his health and whereabouts than you or I.

So, while it’s good to feel the news buzz, it’s better to filter the buzz.