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The Dangers of 48 Hours

We need to talk about something.

The media depend on a rapid turnover of stories to maintain user engagement across TV and online platforms. This has created an environment where even the biggest story in the world is old news within 48 hours (a week at the most).

This has had a number of effects. But one of the most worrying is that the reputational damage sustained by acting badly now tends to be transient. Think of the sense of outrage when it emerged that Donald Trump was allowing Putin to put bounties on the heads of US soldiers. Not long ago, that would have been career ending. The reason it wasn't is that within another couple of days, there were new shiny objects, new stories, new headlines.

New sources of outrage, and only so much to go around.

We are now living in a world in which the effects of bad action far outlast the attention given to them, and in turn, to those who perpetrate them. This means that if you're a politician of dubious moral character (no names Cruz and Hawley) you can commit seditious acts, lie, cheat and debase yourself in the public arena, quite safe in the knowledge that as long as you don't have an election within a few weeks, by the time you do, you likely wont be left paying the bill.

The media forget, and so the people forget.

We need to do better. We must take it on ourselves in this age of democratised mass information to continue to hold elected officials accountable. Crowd funded campaigns, billboards and TV ads, coordinated social media campaigns, civic engagement.

These are the tools we must use.

Because we can't count on the media to do it.

They have shareholders to satisfy.

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