Wednesday, May 03, 2006

On Media

A few months ago I just knew we would suffer a pandemic of bird flu. I prayed, lost sleep, researched what a pandemic is exactly. Then one day the threats were gone, the warnings were gone and I figured that if the media wasn't talking about it, it just wasn't happening.

Then yesterday the news sites were once again swarming with the warnings, the threats, the plans our government will put into action in the event of an outbreak. Last night I prayed, lost sleep and daydreamed of barricading myself and loved ones in my house if there were to be an outbreak.

I fear what the media tells me to fear. I can't help it. Just as I can't help being petrified to get on the plane to Seattle Friday morning and then again on Monday afternoon. I've calmed my nerves by convincing myself that God wouldn't take me before I've read Harry Potter Book 7 and by telling myself that no terrorist will want to highjack a plane flying into Newark, NJ at 10:00 pm while no one is at work. Going to Seattle, well, why would anyone want to terrorize Seattle. It's so pretty there.

How did the media get so bad? Is it just me who sees the media as the real terrorizer? I don't think so. I overheard a colleague of me talking about Charlotte, NC last Friday and her previous visit there. She said even the news was nice. The top story was about a family of geese that crossed the highway.

Now that's just an example and maybe it's where I live that the news is so bad but look at CNN. For anyone who does not watch their local news, CNN is the summary for what's up. It's gruesome. I read CNN every single weekday while I eat my lunch and I can't even tell you how many times I had to choose between not finishing my lunch or not finishing a news report. Our news has made me nauseous, weak in the knees, and flat out cry.

Do we need this? I know I don't but yet I continue to read the news everyday and maybe that's my fault and I'm just not cut out for it, but I do like to know the headlines at least. I feel that an intelligent person should know the headlines everyday.

But does the world really need to know the gruesome and knee weakening hate crimes that two teenage boys down south committed and how they'll only be charged for what it is if the victim dies? Do we really need to be told a bird flu pandemic is coming when we don't know when it's coming? Can't they just let us know the facts? Like that it's out there and that we have a plan? I don't want to know the details of a sex offender's confession. I just want to know he's being sentenced to life in prison for it.

I could go on and on. The point is I'm not ignorant. I don't want to see the world through rose-colored glasses and the media is what's preventing me from that. That's not my problem. My problem is what the media chooses to cover. Philadelphia has had 100 murders so far in 2006 and not one of them has been covered on CNN. Why? It's old news; it's what's expected of Philadelphia. The media covers the stories that shock the small towns and scare the hell out of people and to be honest, I think some of the reports just give other criminals ideas. I wish that bit about the plastic real working oozy found on a drug dealer on an airplane had been kept to itself. Great, now guns can be made of plastic.

I guess news is news. If a kid was shot down the street from my house I'd call my mom and tell her about it. That's spreading news. The goods news I spread has to be really good or else I just keep it to myself. Much like the news I'm sure. I guess it's just a shame there's so much bad news in the world.

Speaking of yesterday's news, I found it pretty funny that still only one in ten Americans aged 18 - 24 can point out Iraq on a map of the world. Only 4 in 10 could identify New York.

Go U.S.A.


Doug Walsh said...

At times, I really believe you're your own worse enemy.

I think the problem is that you don't watch enough news sources, read enough papers, or consider enough other sources to really know exactly what's being discussed in the media and what isn't. Then, when you do turn into CNN on that off occasion and hear something, you over-react.

Bird flu never went away as a concern, it just wasn't front page headlines every day. In Seattle a few weeks ago, some guy from Montana went to an after-party with a sawed off shotgun and handgun and killed 6 kids aged 14 to 21 and then blew his head off in front of police on the front porch. It was all over the national news, as the worse mass-murder in the city in over 20 years. You didn't hear about it? It was on CNN.

The news does sensationalize. We all know this. Their job is to sell and fear sells -- your post proves this. But we're all responsible for knowing what's crap and what isn't.

If you don't like the news, flip the page or turn the channel. I'm sure somewhere in the paper or on the tv, there's nothing but stories about geese. You just have to find them.


theKirkness said...

some peoples ignorance surprises me.. im referring to the people that couldnt find NY on the map not you.

my cousin, who's like 2 years older than me was over at my house. this was like 4 or 5 years ago and there was a thing about the holocaust on TV.. she was like ew what movie is this? and i said it was real, it was footage of the holocust.

she continued "what's that?"

i was floored. she'd never heard of it. WWII? HITLER? millions of jews killed?

i couldnt beleive a person in thier mid 20's who grew up in suburbia didnt know what the Holocaust was..

its astonishing how stupid some people choose to be.

as far as the bird flu... i think its all hype. its like an earthquake, if it happens its gonna suck, theres nothign we can do about it now. well besides look for vaccines and shit. too bad all our scientist are busy making TV's flatter and shoes lighter.

dont let the media scare you.