I can’t watch the news anymore. I can’t stand the way that it’s always something — very public racial comments, severe spring weather, and now a major shooting at a university — presented 24/7 as though they are of equal importance or equal urgency, as though a spring storm will bring us to our knees just as much as (yet another) school shooting… And the shooting will only be important until ratings drop and something else arises.
It makes me so sad that these shootings have entered our vocabulary, that each new one is only compared to those before it, each casualty is just another integer to count. People look to news sources to answer the unanswerable “why?” I can’t decide if the television stations really want to keep us informed or just keep us watching them. I do know that they beat it into us relentlessly, bringing up-to-the-minute reports and analyzing events with complex graphics and on-the-scene reporters whose microphones and cameras invade the space of the shocked and mourning witnesses…On the other hand, maybe it’s us? We do continue to watch, hungry for details and the unfolding stories. The media wouldn’t spend so much energy on their productions if we didn’t take (even buy) what they were giving. The Greeks had their tragedies — maybe the immediacy of world media allows us to have our own tragedies, less the fiction. It makes me sick and sad, not only for the victims, but for the society that simultaneously incubates and consumes these scenarios.
I’m thinking of limiting my news media intake to 30 minutes a day, to wean myself from the beast who feeds me more than I can handle. It’s not that I don’t care — I do, but watching incessant replays and invasive interviews won’t help anything.