For the last few days I’ve been thinking about fake news. We’ve been inundated with stories about the Trump-sanctioned kidnapping of refugee children. The media is all over the story. Reporters are appalled. They’re hunting for the kids. They’re sharing heartbreaking stories. We’ve been deeply touched.

Here’s what I keep wondering. There will come a time when there are no new “breaking news” stories about these kids, when there are no juicy new tidbits. When the next big catastrophe explodes and it becomes necessary to shift our attention, will we remember these children? Our problem is forgotten news — not fake news.

Once we were traveling someplace and stopped at a motel. I got to talking with the woman at the desk. Did I remember the big story a year ago about a tornado wreaking a little town in New Mexico? I did remember. For two days it merited a five-minute slot on the nightly news. And then it was gone. The big story was over in the press. But the town where we had stopped for a rest was that same town. All year they had been busy rebuilding. For those guys, the story hadn’t ended.

What I’ve been thinking is about the forgotten news. How’s the water in Flint, Michigan? How many plastic water bottles have been thrown out there?

How are the reactors at Fukushima doing? Are they still spilling radioactive crap into the pacific ocean?

What’s become of the cops that shot the black men? How are the families of their victims doing?

Is any rebuilding being done? In Mosul? In Aleppo? In Gaza? In New Orleans? What the hell is going in Yemen?

I hope that we don’t allow ourselves to forget these children.

Abby Shahn


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