Pulling backPosted: April 17, 2007
I’m more than a little embarrassed by my Monday evening rant. I could delete it and hope that no one read it. I’d feel better if no one had read it, but I can’t count on that fact. Besides, I’m not ever going to feel better about having posted it. It was one of those rants that I probably would have deleted right away, but the power went out and there it sat for the next 17-18 hours while I waited for the power to come back on.
It was a rant following a day of watching the body count go up. I could have, and in hindsight should have, turned off the television. I didn’t.
It reminded me of September 11, 2001 when I found myself glued to the television, watching the same two planes crash into the same two buildings, over and over and over again. For days afterwards we were bombarded with those same images. I don’t remember when it was exactly, maybe a week later, that counselors and psychologists and psychiatrists started talking about what the constant repetition of these images were doing to people in terms of fear, depression, trauma and, as a result, the images were shown less and less.
Since that time, I’ve been highly sensitive to the way the media continues to bring these events into our homes. It has had me sitting on a rather strange fence. On the one hand, we need to be informed (and I’m completely against censorship of any kind). On the other, at what point does information become exploitation?
There was a time when it took longer to bring news into our living rooms. I’m not going to wax nostalgic about the golden years of my youth. I think there are distinct advantages to the ease in which we now receive our information. This openness allows the media to shine their light on things we should know about it (when the media isn’t busy being cowed by the government and the threat of being called “unpatriotic”).
But I also think the news media needs to pull back a little on some of these stories. As I watched the body count go up yesterday, horrified and saddened and wondering what kind of world this is we live in, I found myself getting irritated with the constant updates that provided no new information.
I wasn’t watching a cable news channel. I had the television turned on so I could listen to the soaps as I went about my spring cleaning day. Yes, I’m a soap opera addict; I got addicted in my teens. I remember the first episode of All My Children because I watched it when it first aired. I wasn’t irritated because the soaps were being interrupted. Lord knows, I’m not that attached to them and barely listen to them as they make background noise while I work. Ten minutes of watching a week is enough to keep anyone updated on the happenings of daytime drama.
I was irritated because I once again felt that sense of fear, sadness, and disillusionment with the human race. I was irritated because the news media has this terrible habit of reporting right away, without gathering all the facts, so that each new report meant another death. I’m not saying they have to be absolutely accurate in their first reporting, but for Pete’s sake, at least take the time to actually gather some facts before reporting. And stop asking the same stupid questions. If you’re interviewing someone and they say, “I can’t answer that” or “I don’t know,” then stop asking. It’s ridiculous to hear reporter after reporter try to reword the same damn question when it’s already been asked and answered.
Are there any real journalists anymore? People who take time to check and recheck their information? People who go out and find information rather than relying upon spokespeople to feed it to them?
Well, I’m ranting again. And that wasn’t my intention.
My intention was to lead you to someone who wrote a really eloquent post about her reaction to what happened. If you have a moment, hop on over to Down the Rabbit Hole and read her post on the Virginia Tech Shootings.
It might not be up to date, but it is thought-provoking. And a better first reaction than my rant last night.