Breaking News: a Game of Telephone

We used to sit in a circle  at birthday parties to play a game called Telephone. The first person would whisper a secret to the next person. And so it went around the circle, each child whispering what they had heard to the next. The last child would loudly announce what she had heard and the first child would repeat the phrase which she had used to start the game. What had started as “Betsy wants a new dress,” could end  up as “bet you won a nude guess.” We found it hysterically funny.

In the current breathless atmosphere of reporting called “breaking news,” tidbits of information, without the safeguard of checking for facts, are constantly broadcast and retweeted, reposted and generally spread willy-nilly from one person to another.

Unfortunately, by the time the truth is finally available, we don’t have time for it. We are already playing the next round of Telephone.

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