Friday, July 17, 2015

No News Is Good News

I'll admit it.  I was an addict.  Not drugs or drink or the hokey pokey, but the news channels.  I would wake up in the morning, click that sucker on and flip through every channel, local and national and international, to feed the beast.  I would watch it over and over and over until I could memorize the content.

I come by this naturally.  My grandma had CNN on, at full volume, all day, every day.

I can remember being a kid and it would come on at 5:00 and last until 6:00.  Then it was over and Wheel of Fortune was on.  Now I see the evening news programs at 4:00, 5:00, 6:00, 10:00 and 11:00 on one of our local channels.

I was informed, depressed and downright pissed off most days.  Everyone, everywhere, at all times were out to get us and either make it cost more, do less, lead better, make me younger (or older), and you were effectively screwed anyway it turned.  

Until one year ago I quit.  Cold Turkey.  Spring Break of 2014 I was home for a week and the kid had gone off to a foreign country on a mission trip and I was flipping through every news channel, making sure a plane didn't crash between Washington State and Haiti.  It was just the Hubs and myself that that huge rectangle on the wall to fill the void.  The Saturday break started, I turned off Fox News.

I haven't turned it on since.

I take that sort of back.  I watched the local news in September when one of our local high schools fell victim to the school shooting trend.  Being in education, I wanted to glean any information that could prevent something like that from happening in our school.  Or at least knowing the signs.  Or the way to react to minimize the damage.

Naturally, I made it all about me.

You ever watch the local news about something that happened seven countries away, and the anchors automatically, somehow, make it relevant to the local area?  "Tulips on the Netherlands are showing more signs of red than yellow."  "Here in Washington, we are seeing tulips that have yellow stripes outpacing pink stripes."


I lasted about four minutes watching that story.  I didn't learn anything I needed to know.  I learned what they thought I needed to know, but the 30 second sound bite was lacking.

I should know this already.  Many, many times I have been in the mist of things that make headlines and they are nothing like what appears in the news.

Got you wondering now, don't I?

One year a small plane flipped over, landing upside down, on the river bed behind our house.  The guy walked away from the flipped over plane, and got on his phone.  Not to 911, but to his buddy, trying to quickly get a truck and trailer to the site because what he had been doing was a tad bit illegal.  The Hubs and I were already on the phone to 911.  The aid car came, the fire truck came, several state and county vehicles came.  This was big news, this plane trying, unsuccessfully, to land on a gravel bar along the river.

Next thing you knew there was a news van pulling up our fairly long driveway.  I was just closing the gate when they got there and the reporter was out before the van stopped.

"Don't you want to be interviewed?  You can be on TV!" they said.

Click, went the lock on the gate and they got to see my pretty little tush saunter away (at least that was my visual inside my head).

Ten minutes later they came from another road on our property.

"Habla ingl├ęs?"  I shouted to them, to be heard from the rotor blades of the news helicopter overhead.

"What?  Yes, I speak English,  Why?" the second eager reporter responded.

"That's funny," I retorted, "Because the four No Trespassing signs you drove past are all in English, and I just assumed you didn't speak the language."

The news later made the whole thing out as some huge international debacle complete with an affair with a Russian princess who only ate red meat unless it was a Wednesday.  Just kidding about all that.  But they did give it it's 30 seconds from the news helicopter that circled overhead (that cut out my white ass as I mooned them when they flew way below the 500 feet mark).  And they tossed in all sorts of things that weren't true.

That was in 2004.  You'd think I woulda learned.

Nope.  In 2010 I watched a small coupe car smash head on into a double tankard semi, both going 55, in my rear view mirror.  I watched the coupe veer into the oncoming lane and mentioned that "that guy's gonna get in an accid..."  Smash.  I was at least 40 yards away.  The news turned it into "he was going too fast" "he was trying to pass someone going too slow" "he was committing suicide".  None of these were true because I was the one in front of him, too far ahead for him to be passing, and he tried to correct when he saw the truck.

Again, more BS from the news.

Four years later, I put down the remote and haven't seen a broadcaster since.  I do read up on the news, just to get headlines, but I take it with a grain of salt.  Most times, they are printing to sell, not necessarily inform.  And the information they want to inform, is information designed to scare, worry and make me unsure of our stability, safety and general well-being as a nation.

I live in my own little bubble and I'm happy with my world.  And now I'm never pissed off.

That last parts not true.

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