Friday, October 7, 2011

The News

I'm busy, sure. Very busy. And the Internet has changed things too. But really? I just can't watch the news anymore, even if I had the time. It's too... bombarding.

I realized this morning, when I happened to watch a so-heartwarming story on The Today Show, that I actually used to watch The Today Show - because of stories like these. I wanted the headlines, but I also wanted the "human interest" stories - perhaps because, as a human, I was interested.

I do want to know hard news stories in depth. I do. But I can't seem to watch a news show long enough to get that. Instead, it's sound bites and shrillness. It's screaming headlines that "don't mean what they're trying to say at" (this is a semi-quote from a novel, I don't remember which one, I'm thinking "As I Lay Dying," but I'm not sure). Not even Morning Joe keeps me tuned anymore (though my watching this news-talk show does depend on whether I am awake before 6 a.m.).

I do stay informed. I read news on the Internet - where headlines often are shrill sound bites, just like they are on the TV news. But the written word does require something from news reporters and commentators that TV news does not - it requires new sentences. It requires an attempt at depth. And it lets me skim through the noise to get to the substance. It lets me walk away if the shrillness is too much, just in time to find another, more reasoned article or column.

So if the TV news programs think getting people's attention requires a lot of noise... why not try going back to a reasonable approach? Let me know you're doing it (there's a lot of noise out there, you know!) and I promise - I'll make it a point to tune in.