Each day as I turn on the news or log onto the internet I hold my breath a moment, knowing that a violent confrontation or tragic death or criminal act has taken place somewhere. It will be displayed on the screen in gory, graphic detail and dominate the news until the next disaster takes place. Gary commented yesterday that one of the recent reports has been repeated at least a dozen times. I’m not sure if the media’s intent is to make sure everyone is informed, or if they just want to wring out every moment of “shock and awe” possible.
The shock value of reports and videos has certainly increased in recent years. I’m not sure that the details of some criminal reports are necessary outside of a courtroom. “Sexual abuse” is an adequate allegation, without going into gruesome details. And it’s ironic that a local news station has a commercial featuring children who supposedly wake up with the news. I wouldn’t want my children to hear half of the news they report before school each morning. I don’t need to hear every emotional 9-1-1 call or dash-cam video. Those should be used to substantiate stories and convict criminals, but I don’t think they should be used to prejudice potential jurors or incite riots. And I certainly don’t need to see some of the amateur video taken by fame-hungry fools who seem to be recording every moment of their lives for YouTube. When did we decide that “if you take it we must see it”? The news media needs to use a little more discretion in deciding what to use and what to withhold out of respect for the situation and the people involved. In many cases they are going beyond reporting the news and actually creating it with their labels, descriptions, and premature opinions. I’m not sure how any trial attorney finds a jury of people who have not already formed an opinion about the accused, based on what they have seen and heard in the media.
To balance out the tragedies of the day I’ve been spending more time on FB lately. Yes, if you need an excuse for being on FB I think this is it! We have to balance out the media craziness with more news of ordinary people living their nonviolent ordinary lives. The news broadcasters offer us a few stories each day about heroes and triumph and love and hope, but I for one need LOTS more. So I turn to FB and the happy faces of my friends and relatives doing ordinary things like having babies and going to ballgames and celebrating birthdays. I know that each of them has problems and challenges that we also talk about and pray about, but I’ve yet to see a posting of someone wildly ranting, violently protesting, or intentionally harming someone. I don’t have those kinds of FB friends!
I think my craving for peace and normalcy also offers a solution for the violence so rampant in our society. Those of us who are just trying to survive from day to day must join together to make our voices heard over the shouts of the angry mobs and make our ordinary lives the ones that matter to the media. We don’t need to “shine” as the lead story of the day, but we need to form the foundation that provides perspective and gives balance to the madness of the day. We need to remind ourselves and others that those people on the news represent the minority of our society…most of us are just ordinary people leading ordinary lives.