Thursday, March 25, 2010

Press Pass

With all the buzz lately about health care reform, I feel I have become desensitized to the press and news coverage. I am a reasonably well-read person and I take an active interest in the politics and news of the day, watching nightly news as well as some CNN and FOX News. I read Time, The Economist and other magazines weekly. I have to say though, with all there is in the world to talk about, does every newscast and every newscaster have to drone on and on about this health care package? Some are positively gloating while others are reporting as if it's the beginning of the end for the U.S. Like it or love it, we just can't seem to stop hearing about it. Therein lies the problem.

I think the immediate nature of todays news dissemination has rendered the public immune to big news stories and to caring about them. The sheer volume of news coverage today is staggering. You can't hardly turn on a television or even go to your mailbox without being inundated with political rhetoric. If a story breaks, all networks and large cable news organizations have the news within minutes. Forget daily newspapers - by the time the daily paper comes to me I know all the news of the day (before). It's too late! It's both tiring and overwhelming sifting through the minute-by-minute firehose of information coming at us. So much so that I, for one, get to the point where I just don't care about ANY news coverage. It's all too much.

It would be easy to be scared silly by the nightly news. There is nary a human interest or "good news" story to be told any more. Those nicities are left to the last 60 seconds of a newscast so viewers turn off on a "good" note. Never mind the other 30-60 minutes just watched of murders, scandals, political in-fighting and sensationalism that was just paraded in the name of "coverage". About all the local coverage is good for is weather, and I can get that on my iphone with a few touches to a screen. I don't have to wait until the middle of a newscast to find out if it will rain tomorrow.

Sure, there are plenty of news junkies out there. My husband is one of them. He flips between nightly newscasts (he actually DVR's the 6pm news!), CNN and FOX, for hours at a time. I can watch for a little while, but after a time it just seems repetitive and like the anchors are trying to CREATE the news, not just report it. What passes for coverage these days would be closer to nightly debate over news rather than the telling of facts. I really don't care what the anchor's opinions are - I just want to know the facts about what has happened both locally and nationally. How the news-addicted can watch for hours on end baffles me. How can one be shocked by anything if shocking things are being reported hourly, over and over?

I think that is why there is such a disconnect between lawmakers and the public, for instance. People are so tired and worn down by debate that they just don't want to hear it any more. So health care "reform" passed and was signed into law. So our freedoms have been eroded in the name of the "rights" of SOME people to have health coverage. It's just one more piece of bad news to add to the pile we receive hourly in the news. People have become complacent and almost accepting that government will do what they want regardless of the wants of the people, and that bad stuff will just keep happening no matter what, so why bother to care or really do anything about it?

My belief is that more than anything else, the PRESS are to blame for American complacency. So much "news" is sensationalized, over-reported and created by zealous news organizations trying to create market share. Americans need to wake up! It is one thing to have genuine debates so the public may come to their own (voting) decisions. It's another entirely to try to sway public interest in any particular political direction if you operate a news organization. Unless that group is touted as members of a certain party or outlook, viewers need to take notice that the information coming at them is blatently, systematically and repetitively biased.

The public is being buffaloed, and they are allowing it to be done. This administration is getting sweeping legislation passed in the name of "rights", while taking them away, with the help of liberal media delivering their message without a dollar of advertising money changing hands. I hope people are beginning to wake up and get mad. I am. Once indifferent to politics and governmental machination, I can no longer abide the eroding of constitutional values and principles that our nation was founded under. The light has gone on for me with regard to the press. I'm taking a pass. We have a voice and need to use it in November. No longer will I abide my freedoms being taken from me by our government, or will I ever listen to another newscast as factual. I've had it, and I hope others have too. Our future depends upon it.

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