Friday, April 06, 2007

In The News

( A guest contribution to the blog, SundayScribblings . This week's topic: "In the News" )

I was channel surfing last night and happened upon the FoxNews show, Hanniday and Combs. It was evident to me in seconds as to why the news is of little interest to me anymore.

They had ultra conservative Republican Ann Coulter on the show. The show's hosts and the network's show before them, Keith Oberlin, were as Democrat, liberal, and anti-Bush as you can be. I detest labels. The problem with labels is that a label is an assumption. If you want to lead an unenlightened life, make a lot of assumptions. The labels that I just used describing the adversaries on the show probably aren't totally accurate. If one, like myself, that has such intolerance for labels is moved to draw a conclusion so quickly, you can only guess how blatant the stances of these warring factions were.

These two sides were not having a debate. They were having an argument. I have no room in my life for going out and looking for people arguing. You stumble across enough of those. Though their points may be erudite, these people of above average intelligence both appeared idiotic due to their method of presentation. I have little room in my life to seek out stupidity and hang around those that demean themselves intentionally by engaging in rhetoric like this. The blatancy of what was being sold was clearly evident to me. I figured this out in the flash of just one quick channel surf during a commercial from the show that I was watching.

People are trying to sell their argument. They pass it off as news. The terms liberal and conservative have only been learned by me in the last few years of my life. I went almost a half of a century of pulling this off. I never took a class in this. I never read a book about it. Sure, the topic has come up in things that I have encountered. My definition of these opposing tribes has been shaped mostly by observing the two sides going at it on the small screen.

Am I more intelligent for learning this? Am I a better person for picking up this knowledge? Does having this knowledge make me happier and better equipped to help the world as I watch these types of pseudo-news programs? No. It has merely trained me to make labels....the very item that is one of the most damaging things you can do to another human being.

If shows like these are so obvious, how much more discrete are the "real" news shows and newspapers in adding their view of the incidents that happen all over the world? Perhaps my age has outweighed my indifference in my attempt to avoid judging and stereotyping others. If you are exposed to the media long enough, you can't help but be drawn in.

Our local paper, the Sacramento Bee, ran a headline news story the other day. This was front page with a font that was only slightly smaller than the biggest one that they would ever run. It was rivaling "Pearl Harbor Attacked" in it's size. Did a famous person die? Did a major news event happen? I will let you be the judge. The headline was something along these lines: "Subprime Lending Crisis May Cripple Area Home Values"

First, when did something that may happen that I can do nothing about become a news item...let alone a front page story? The article went on to trash the home lending industry. When you got done, you would think that the entire industry takes advantage of people. You would be led to believe it is the cause of your home values declining due to people being granted credit that were not able to make their monthly obligations which results in foreclosure. The truth is that some of these people did get credit. The fact is that, because this happened, home prices rose as well. Investors saw the fervor and jumped in. Values rose much more quickly due to the increased demand that this type of lending brought on. The bubble burst and now values are returning to the place where they should have been had the phenomenon not happened. I am not advocating one side or the other. Homeownership became available to many people that it would have otherwise not been presented to. Those people are still in their homes today. They are benefitting from being able to excercise their right of homeownership. The minority are the ones facing foreclosure.

I am in the lending industry. This is one area where I see what happened. I have more access to fact than the media does because I was on the front lines. I lived through it. The distortions that are being played out around this topic have led me to adopt the final conclusion that most of us know. The media has come to exist to sell the media. What other topics does it grossly distort? Am I really unintelligent if I don't have an opinion on whether Nancy Pelosi should be in Syria? If someone does think that about me, it is probably just their need to label me so they can feel more intelligent about themselves. I don't need to play this game. It is a lot of talk without anyone doing anything about it.

In The News. If it is a fact, I am interested. If it is a distortion, I would rather read a fairy tale. I am too weary to try to maintain and upkeep the filters that are required to tell the difference. The media is no different than alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes. It seems enjoyable while you do it but the addiction that is formed by the engagement is too dangerous for my health to partake in. I have better things to do.


Susan Abraham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan Abraham said...

An intelligent, thought-provoking post! :-)

Amber said...

Yep. All of it, yep. How I do agree! Brilliant.

And I can't even get into the real estate headline. My family also reads this paper, and have been following the market for a few years, waiting to be able to buy at a price where we knew we could make our payment each month, AND feed out children, (and we make very good money and have excellent credit)...I wonder how many of these people who are losing their homes now, were planning ahead? How many of them did not use their heads about what they could really handle for the long run? Now that things are coming back down to where they should be (for those of us who live in reality, hello?), these headlines really irritate me! People were just not smart, and now we are suposed to think they were all victims? Nope. Think not so much.


Faith said...

I totally agree on the part about the media distorting things. I actually no longer believe what they say I just listen and shake my head.

paris parfait said...

That's why people have to read more than one source and draw their own conclusions. As for Fox "news," the terms are mutually exclusive in my opinion. All they do is try to stir up controversy and provoke outrage. Information? Simply not on their agenda. If people aren't informed about the issues, they can't make wise decisions.

Rose Dewy Knickers said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I don't watch any news, can't stand it.

Hope you have a Happy Easter.



colleen said...

Sometimes it feels like a boxing match and they want us to pick a corner. I want the longer answer. Mine is: I'm a registered independent, fiscally conservative who votes Democratic because they represent my views on women's rights, civil rights, labor rights, human rights better than their counterparts.

I was offended the first time I heard the labels and was called one of them.

Our newspaper had a huge front page story about the Virginia Tech Hokie bird being stolen this week with a photo the size of a monument.

gautami tripathy said...

Our newspapers are full of cricket after the world cup debacle. I am sick of it.