Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What's News?

                                          
I must acknowledge that I have been on a TV news fast for some time... months, actually. I struggle with the dichotomy of feeling the need to be informed about what's happening in this world of which I am a part and the feeling of helplessness and anger which fills me when I actually view almost any TV news program. I find all the negativity and nastiness pervading the realms of politics and news reporting energetically draining, sapping me of any sense of goodwill and compassion toward those with whom I share space on this seemingly-shrinking planet of ours. Perhaps I have reached a state of "compassion fatigue", my heart and mind no longer able to accomodate the overwhelming but very real needs of people in every corner of the world. Perhaps I have come to a place of intolerance for the many ways in which we human creatures denigrate and destroy one another and the natural world around us. Perhaps I have become tired of the lack of civility and manners and respect for the other and for ourselves. I only know that the TV news seems to exemplify the ways in which we have come to regard and treat one another- and I find I can no longer tolerate being part of it by viewing.

Now, I know all of the arguments FOR being a watcher- and, indeed, I had long felt, believed, that by watching I was serving as a witness to what was happening across the globe, a task I saw as very important since witnesses maked forgetting or neglecting the truth impossible. But that very vital role no longer energizes me. Instead, I find that the viewing and listening is actually enervating me, sapping me of strength and courage and energy and, yes, tolerance for the ways in which the "NEWS" can be shaped and distorted and twisted to serve the respective agendas of the networks and the corporations which sponsor them.

So, for now, I am fasting from the TV news, tuning in only if I have heard of something interesting and important on NPR or in the admittedly-limited High Point Enterprise. Perhaps that will change in coming months, though with all of the presidential politics I have my doubts. I am harkening back to the days of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite (I know, my age is showing) and longing for a newsperson of that caliber, for a news program and newscaster I can trust. But maybe this generation of 24-hour news reporting has obfuscated that possibility or, for many, the need. I know only that this viewer mourns the death of civility and honesty and openness, of real NEWS- unslanted, with a lack of agenda other than providing the best and most complete imformation to the public. But is that really so much to ask?

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