Because of where I live, I have the great fortune of being able to look out my window and see an abundance of roosters. And because of this abundance of roosters, undoubtedly, there are a number of baby chicks. These baby chicks don’t just wander aimlessly across the lawn looking for food or something to do. These baby chicks, instead, are quite deliberate in their actions. In fact, these baby chicks follow around the mother hen. Partially, because their life depends upon it. Maybe not where I live, but in some parts of the world, if a baby chick strays to far from momma, it’s likely to be another creature’s tasty snack.
As I watched these baby chicks following the mother hen, I looked a little closer at their actions. I wanted to see why it was they were following mother around. From what I was able to gather, these baby chicks are following mother around because they’re safer (read: foxes), but more than that, mother hen shows them what’s foot and what’s not food. This may have been some sort of anomaly, but from the dozens of minutes I was able to watch (on different days), the hens would go to an area of the lawn and then call the chicks over to where she was (usually a distance of mere decimetres away). The mother hen would then begin pecking away at the grass (or something on the lawn) and the baby chicks would follow suit.
I soon learned, just from watching, that this was how the baby chicks were able to eat. Either the mom was helping to pull something up out of the ground or she was identifying what was nutritious for the baby chicks. The mother hen would vary her time in how long she spent in an area. When she left one area, some of the baby chicks would immediately follow her, while others, remained behind (to pick-up the scraps?) As I continued to watch the dynamics of the situation, I began to be able to notice parallels to the news of society.
The different big-branded news corporations (NBC, FOX, BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, etc.) are all like mother hens and us, the viewers, are like baby chicks. When one of these news conglomerates reports on a story, immediately, our attention is drawn to that area of the world. When one of the mother hens calls the baby chicks attention to one area of the lawn, immediately, that is where their attention goes. The chicks run over to see what’s happening. Like the baby chicks, the viewers become immediately concerned with whatever is being reported to them.
When a reporter or hen talks about a certain story, they are drawing your attention to that story. Unintentionally or not, they are also drawing your attention away from any other story that they could have reported on. As the reporter moves onto another story the next day, some viewers move onto the next story with them, while some viewers stay enveloped in “yesterday’s news.” Sometimes, this is for good (maybe their favorite team won a big game) and sometimes it’s maybe for not so good reasons (conspiracy theories?)
Being able to watch these baby chicks follow around the mother hen allowed me to see something that is played out in society time and time again. Somebody (the hen) says xyz is important, so instantly, everyone else (the baby chicks) buy-in to the story to see just what xyz about. My point in this story about the hen and the baby chicks is that all of us, in one way or another, is following around a hen. Whether we watch the news on any particular station, read about news on the internet, or get our news from our friends. Regardless, our attention is being drawn to a story (more times than not) because someone said it was important. I think it is paramount to remember that had we been following a different hen, our views, beliefs, and ideas about the world would likely be completely different.