April 20, 2013

"Breaking news is broken"

I don't know exactly how this happened, but I used to think that watching the news, especially during big breaking events, was responsible. I thought of it as being "informed" and mature.

I have a very different view now. I learned during the period of the 2011 attacks (very close by), and the anthrax and then "Washington Sniper" period that I was really making myself sick with worry and unhelpful anxiety by winding along with every twist and mistaken lead and endlessly repeated film clip of horrible things being shown not because they were relevant or useful but because they existed.

This past week has been, for the US, filled with urgent news: bombing, explosion, ricin, police hunts. Very little of it needed ME to know about it in real time - although I did want reassurance that my own family and friends in Boston were unaffected, that was not done by watching the news.

In 2013, it isn't just the TV newsfeed but also Facebook and email alerts and Twitter and many of the other ways we are "updated" in real time if we choose.

This has been an anxious week. I didn't change the events by turning off the TV, but I did change my own reaction and my anxiety level. These days I think this was the most informed and mature way to approach it. It doesn't mean I "care" less. It also doesn't mean I know less: waiting until the end of an event makes me more likely to actually hear the "news."

Breaking News Is Broken

Don’t watch cable news. Shut off Twitter. You’d be better off cleaning your gutters.



4 comments:

  1. I don't think I had any clue about just how I was effected throughout this week until the second suspect was captured last night. Then I knew it. It's been a highly anxious, stressful week for all around here and afar.

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  2. I know what you mean, HikerRD. It's like waiting to exhale.

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  3. I wish that they would not replay the events over and over and over. Once it's been shown people don't need to see it repeatedly - I mean, the explosions, or the planes crashing into the towers on 9/11, etc. There are already so many people being traumatised for life from these events, why spread that trauma further?

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  4. I agree, faithandmeow. My belief is they show it because we watch it, like picking a scab, and because we still have this sense that we are supposed to be watching the news. Time for us to stop, because they're watching what we do and giving us what we show we want!

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