In the case that you’re a rookie and can’t read morse code, the above meme translates to: “Telegraph news too fast you say? Tell me more.” This meme is in response to The New York Times’ comment on the effect the telegraph had on news quality. The excerpt from an 1858 article, which was seen in this week’s lecture, claimed that the capability of the telegraph to share information instantaneously was in some ways causing news to become trivial and of lesser quality. It stated that perhaps it was becoming
“too fast for the truth.”
It was these ideas and fears of instant communication that inspired this meme, as looking back in retrospect these fears could be seen as almost silly. With the sheer amount of instant communication that exists today it is clear to say that the “idea of now” was nothing to fear. However, after reflecting further on the New York Times’ fears of 1858, I came to the realisation that perhaps we still have similar fears, and that perhaps we haven’t advanced as much as we thought. Thinking about it, I often see the criticisms of breaking news and commenting on how the need for instant coverage can often lead to compromising accurate information. So before we follow Willy Wonka’s condescending lead, perhaps we should acknowledge that the New York Times’ comments could have some merit. The alternative is to admit that we are just as silly as they were back in 1858.