The Most Powerful News Story Glenn Ever Heard Was Six Words

"Chicago O'Hare, Eastern Airlines, 111 dead."

That was the news from Paul Harvey on July 19, 1989. The master storyteller and radio host had a way with words that resonated among Americans --- including a younger Glenn Beck.

"He was way ahead of his time.  Most powerful news story I ever heard, and one of the reasons why I wanted to get into radio: Orson Wells and Paul Harvey," Glenn said Monday on radio.

This followed a conversation about social media and its impact on the new way Americans consume news. Sharing a story from FiveThirtyEight, co-host Stu Burgiere recounted the author's recent three-month break from social media.

"They had a writer who had a book situation, so [she] had to go off social media for three months. And [she] wrote about, 'Hey, how did this affect my opinion of the news cycle?'" Stu explained. 

Christie Aschwanden, the author, came to a realization:

It dawned on me that I’d mostly stopped visiting websites directly and instead had been following the recommendations in my feeds to wherever they might lead me. My reading was no longer deliberate but curated by external forces that may or may not have aligned with my interests. I’d ceded control of my most valuable currency: my attention.

That trend --- having news pushed to us by an outside algorithm rather than seeking out sources independently --- has dramatically changed the way we consume news.

"Unbelievable, that's the way most people do it," Glenn said.

"Totally, you just get led down these roads, and you're not necessarily even reading what's most interesting to you or what's most important to you," Stu agreed.

Regarding the Paul Harvey story, Glenn had this to say:

"I knew everything that I needed to know. That's really kind of what America wants right now. They just want that, plus they want a confirmation of their opinion. Tell me my opinion is right," he said.

Aschwanden found exactly that to be true:

What became acutely obvious when I stopped taking their recommendations was how tribal online discussions can be. So many posts in my feeds were people broadcasting their political or professional identities by expressing outrage or praise for a particular news event or article. It seems to me that these kinds of posts aren’t so much about instigating thoughtful discourse as they are about broadcasting your own tastes or positioning yourself on a team. By opting out, I wasn’t missing thoughtful discussions, I was skipping pep rallies for various factions.

"It's because we've lost the American tribe. We've broken into political party tribes because we don't have a common story that threads us together anymore," Glenn said.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

GLENN: Thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you for listening to the Glenn Beck Program. We are back off from vacation. What did we bring back?

STU: One interesting little I saw from FiveThirtyEight.com. They had a writer who had a book situation. So they had to go off social media for three months. And they wrote about, hey, how did this affect my opinion of the news cycle? Like, they went through all these big events not being connected to social media. And here's part of it: It dawned on me that I mostly stopped visiting websites directly and instead had been following the recommendations in my feeds to wherever they might lead me. My reading was no longer deliberated, but curated by external forces that may or may not have aligned with my interests. I ceded control of my most valuable currency: My attention.

GLENN: Unbelievable. That's the way most people do it.

STU: Totally. You just get led down these things -- these roads, and you're not necessarily even reading what's most interesting to you or what's most important to you.

JEFFY: I mean, we all do that.

STU: Yeah, that's true.

GLENN: I think it's 80 percent of traffic now from most sites comes from what's called the side doors. So people aren't going to TheBlaze.com. Or the NewYorkTimes.com. They're getting it from their Facebook feed, and that leads them in from the side door. So they're only getting one story. And on that story, the average time is like 46 seconds or --

STU: Jeez. If it's that high, I would be stunned.

GLENN: Yeah. I keep wanting to say it's six seconds. But it can't be that. It's some extraordinarily low number. And it gives you time enough just to read the headlines and glance and move on. That's how people are getting their news now. And it's -- it's -- it's really kind of frightening.

STU: Yeah, I was listening to an interview about someone who was a writer -- like long form pieces. Like the magazine profile. Right? Those old school things that we don't really seem to have anymore, except for a few sources. And they were talking about how they would spend so much time writing that last paragraph. If you watch House of Cards, which I will not give anything away here, I promise. But the last few moments, as you would expect of the season, were amazing. And that's how articles used to be. That last paragraph was crafted -- it was perfectly worded. It lead you to that exact point.

GLENN: And it was referenced three times before in the article.

STU: Oh, yeah. It set you up.

GLENN: Yeah.

STU: And what they found is, now with the digital world is they realized, first of all, the first program is the only one that anyone reads. And it goes down to, the last paragraph is read by 6 percent of readers or 5 percent of readers. Something so low, that there's no rational reason to spend any time on the last paragraph. It should only be the first few paragraphs that you spend any time on, and the rest of it, just throw all the junk at the end. And that's not the way journalism used to be. It's not the way it was --

GLENN: Trying to write something smart in -- I mean, the only guy that I know that did it was Paul Harvey. Trying to write something smart in -- in one paragraph and really convey a message. The most powerful news story I've ever heard -- he was away ahead of his time. Most powerful news story ever heard and the reasonable why I wanted to -- one of the reasons why I wanted to get into radio: Orson Wells and Harvey. And I used to listen to them, eight years old, I would be washing the pots and pans in the bakery. And Paul Harvey would come on. And he would do his -- in the summer, his noon report. And the rest of the year, I would hear his 5 o'clock report. And he would give the news. And the most -- the most effective story I ever heard was Chicago O'Hare, Eastern Airlines, 232 dead. And that was it.

And the way he said it, I could -- I could almost smell the smoke. I mean, I knew everything that I needed to know. That's really kind of what America wants right now. They just want that, plus they want a confirmation of their opinion. Tell me my opinion is right.

STU: Yeah. And that's exactly what the author found. You know, what became acutely obvious was when he stopped taking the recommendations was how tribal online discussions can be. So many posts in my feeds were people broadcasting their political or professional identities by expressing outrage or praise for a particular news event or article.

You know, that is what it is. It winds up being --

GLENN: It's because we've lost the American tribe.

STU: Yeah.

GLENN: We've broken into political party tribes. Because we don't have a common story that threads us together anymore.

Glenn gives the latest coronavirus numbers, updating YOU on everything needed to know as Americans and officials monitor China's new COVID-19 virus:

Daily Stats as of 5:30 AM CT (from John's Hopkins)

  • Total Confirmed Cases Worldwide: 799,995 (up from 735,135 Yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Deaths Worldwide: 38,735 (up from 34,807 Yesterday)
  • Total Confirmed Recovered Worldwide: 169,995 (up from 155,950 Yesterday)
  • 5% of Active Cases are considered serious (requiring hospitalization) Steady from 5% Yesterday, but down from 19% high back in February
  • Note that 11% of US Confirmed Cases require Hospitalization, roughly on par with Italy at 12% requiring hospitalization
  • US has 164,359 Confirmed Cases and 3,173 Deaths, up from 142,746 cases and 2,489 deaths Yesterday
  • The United States of America now leads the world in total confirmed cases, with 63,000 more cases than Italy (although Italy leads the world in Deaths with 11,591 officially dead)
  • US has 3,173 Dead vs 5,507 Recovered and 3,512 in Critical Condition
  • The US Currently has 155,679 Active Cases of COVID-19, with less than 0.6% of the total US population tested
  • 15% of Americans who have been tested have been diagnosed with COVID-19
The Moment of Trump's Conversion: Dr Anthony Fauci Takes Full Responsibility https://dailycaller.com/2020/03/30/anthony-fauci-moment-donald-trump-realized-extend-social-distancing-mandate/
  • Dr Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor to the coronavirus task force, explained on CNN that Trump listened and "got it right away" after being shown new data projecting as many as 3 Million deaths in the US if COVID-19 mitigation policies were lifted.
  • Fauci also said Trump's "first goal is to prevent suffering and death" and this was part of the reason why he knew the COVID-19 guidelines should be extended.
  • "You know, interestingly, we showed him the data, he looked at the data and he got it right away, it was a pretty clear picture," according to Fauci.
  • "Dr. Debbie Birx and I went in together and leaned over his desk and said 'Here is the data, take a look.'
  • Trump reportedly looked at them, understood the implications and he shook his head and said 'I guess we got to do it.'
  • "Medically, this is the right decision, and I stand behind it 100%," Fauci said.
  • "From a public health standpoint, we felt strongly that it would have been the wrong decision to pull back," Fauci said. "I mean, we are scientists, physicians, public health officials. We're not economists. We're sensitive to the idea that the economy could suffer, but weigh that against tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of American lives."
  • "...it was patently obvious looking at the data that at the end of the day if we try to push back prematurely, not only would we lose lives, but it probably would hurt the economy as well. So you would lose on double accounts. So, to us, there was no question what the right choice was."
Washington DC, Virginia, Maryland Join States Issuing House Arrest Orders https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/30/coronavirus-violators-of-marylands-stay-at-home-order-face-criminal-charges.html
  • Maryland and Virginia became the latest states on Monday to enact "stay-at-home" mandates amid the coronavirus outbreak, except for essential travel for work.
  • Virginia's order is in effect until June 10, making it one of the longest statewide mandates implemented so far.
  • Maryland's penalties for violating its order are among some of the strictest in the country, including a $1000 fine, and up to 30 days jail time for repeat offenders.
  • In total, more than 210 Million Americans now effectively live under some form of House Arrest or Shelter In Place type orders, with another, 50 Million facing travel or shopping/eating restrictions.
  • Only 6 states have not closed schools.