Stop Watching

December 19, 2012 at 4:08 pm 2 comments

Recent events have magnified my existing opinion that watching news programs (like CNN and Fox News) should be avoided. It’s voyeuristic. It’s rude. It’s wrong.

These entertainment-conglomerate-owned programs barely meet the requirements of journalism on a normal day. They are no longer staffed by journalists. They don’t appear to be at all concerned with being factual or unbiased. They spin; they manipulate; they squawk. They seek attention like a two-year-old in a very dirty diaper.

As bad as they are on a regular day, when a tragedy occurs, they are worse. So much worse.

I’m not preaching at anyone here. I have done it myself–been unable to look away, watched a situation for hours or even days. But I’m not going to do that anymore; this is a change I am making. This is a vow.

When faced with tragedy, human beings help. They reach out. They pitch in. They can–when a depth of understanding exists, when someone has been a friend for many many years–soften grief with a look, a touch, or the special language of intimates.

It’s one of the really beautiful things about humans, and I still believe it is true of the vast majority.

The problem is, when there is nothing you can do, when there is no action you can take, when you are not connected to those in pain, it is easy to get sucked into the news program. It may provide a false sense of relief (something that almost feels like grieving). Or it may seem disrespectful to not pay attention. Or, it can also be hypnotic; it can be hard to look away.

But what if we did? What if we all stopped watching shows like CNN and Fox News?

What if we all picked up the remote and pushed a button and said, “No.”

What if we said No to a paparazzi approach to the world? What if we said No to the frenzy and the falseness? What if we said No to the lack of depth, the lack of common sense, the over-dramatic narcissism? What if we said No to pretending that hundreds of total strangers with microphones and cameras descend on a community because they care? What if we said No to this expanding and disturbing intrusiveness that seeks to make all of us part of something quite creepy?

Do any of us need to know what happened in Newtown–at the level it is being reported–to be able to be respectful or to be able to say a prayer for those concerned?

Do we need a total stranger to tell us how to feel about this? Does some talking head on TV know your family better than you do?

In this world of more than 7 billion humans, do we need to focus on those who do evil? (or the spoiled, stupid, drunken celebrity? or the sex lives of politicians?)

Do I want to be even one tiny part of the reason a reporter feels justified in knocking on the door of a grief-stricken parent?

I’m not suggesting we all put our heads in the sand. We do need to be aware of the world around us. We need to be informed of dangers. We need to notice when someone else needs help. But in this mass-media world, we need to be careful about what we let into our brains, what we let into our hearts, what’s seeping into the collective psyche.

Read the paper. Get involved in your own community. Watch a legitimate news program (if there are any out there anymore) for a short while if you must. But let’s put an end to the 24/7, workin’-for-sound-bytes, cranking-out-designer-death-graphics, glorifying evil, microscopic but depthless, superfluous, horrible news shows.

I believe we are better than this. But we have to make choices and take actions that will ensure that we continue to be better than this. If we don’t watch, it will cease to be a lucrative media buy for advertisers. If we say No, it will go away.

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. stephen  |  December 19, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    Right on! ….except those world rocking events like Steeler drama and why the play calling was horrible from the coach. who can possibly pry yourself away from those stories????


  • 2. Things That Helped Me Feel Better Today. | Life Preservers  |  November 9, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    […] haven’t relied on Fox or CNN for my news since 2012. I’m not as upset as most people. Perhaps there’s a […]



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