By Tom Ehrich

Like many people for whom "young" no longer applies, I entered the Internet age via gates marked AOL, Yahoo, Earthlink, Microsoft and Dell.

That seems so yesterday. Imagine, dial-up! Command lines! All-in-one portals! I moved on to Google Mail, web apps and Apple devices, and then assembled my own toolkit of apps and services that strike me as best-of-class in each arena, from project management to scheduling, both web and mobile.

Today I read an article about Yahoo and thought I'd see what Marissa Meyer is up to. I downloaded the Yahoo mobile app.

Egad! Top stories in the news feed: Blake Lively's pregnancy attire, World Series, a puff piece on solar power, actress Renee Zellweger's aging, a gay football player, and a phony "sponsored" article about tech manufacturing.

No wonder our politics are so screwed up. If this is how some people see the world, and if another chunk live within the Fox News bubble, and others trust social media and blogs to deliver accurate information about critical issues, we are living in a strange fact-free era.

The New York Times web site, by contrast, led with predatory banks assaulting the poor, ISIS, aging, Ebola, waning confidence among citizens, democracy in Hong Kong, and terrorist trials. No shock over Renee's puffy face.

I consider myself well enough informed to know that Blake Lively and Renee Zellweger belong "below the fold," as it were, and sponsored stories have no business masquerading as news.

Americans have widely disparate views on everything, from top politicians to education to health to the worthiness of the Kansas City Royals. That disparity is part of our charm.

We are at our best when we have critical issues front and center, and we are debating things that matter and not fretting over an actress' "baby bump."

We have serious issues on our citizenship plates. We need to deal with them -- disagreeing, of course. When we vote, we should be informed about the candidates and what they stand for. We shouldn't go from Renee-watch and conspiracy-theory hysteria to a senatorial race and think the two are connected. Enough of the trivial.

So I deleted the Yahoo app, and thus ends my last link to former days.

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