“Here’s what you won’t see on CNN” is my new least favorite phrase. I definitely won’t see it on CNN because I don’t watch any of the 24 hour news networks. Their primary job isn’t to inform me, provide clarity of nuanced issues or situations, or to enlighten mankind about the problems we collectively face.
Their entire purpose is to make money. To do that, they need eyeballs. To get eyeballs, they have to turn every situation into an event. And every “event” has to have good guys and bad guys and has to have an “angle”. And that angle has to be clear enough so even the most mouth-breathing of viewers can understand it in less than 30 seconds between commercials and know who to root for.
The problem is that nothing that happens is black and white and there are rarely easily identifiable bad guys, just people acting in their own best interest (or what they think is their best interest).
All of the coverage, all of the commentary, all of the fancy graphics, all of the “breaking news”, it’s all there to get your adrenaline pumping and to keep your eye glued to the screen and so you’ll stick around through the commercials.
So, don’t fall for it. Don’t watch the news. Read the news. Read commentary on the news. Read real journalists who do real research and provide perspective and expose nuance.
Stop helping them treat tragedy as entertainment. Stop participating the outrage cycle. Understand that every source of information has a point of view. It doesn’t make them wrong or right, but it affects how they view and report on things. Don’t trust all first person accounts. Be cautious about joining a movement until you understand the motivations of those involved.
There are better things we can be doing with our time than speaking like pundits on the TV or radio. We could be helping.
I’m not sure how to help with a lot of the things going on in the world (and in my city) right now, but I can at least not add fuel to an already out of control fire.