Not too long ago, I had a ritual. I would wake up, stumble to the corner café, read the news, and get high on coffee. Coupled with the amazing people-watching, it was a spiritual experience. I don’t know for sure when it happened, but something ruined my high. I still go to the café and get high on coffee, but I can’t tolerate reading the news. It’s not just that it’s so negative. It’s that, on top of the negativity, the news has been dramatized.
It has been said that I enjoy drama. This is a truth. I do love a great drama. But the joy of escaping into an intense drama (books, movies, or otherwise) has always been deeply tied to the inevitable return to reality. That’s what makes the drama enjoyable–it’s not reality. But, I need reality. We all do. We all need to be connected to the reality of the world around us. The problem is that we no longer can get the news without the drama. Front page articles in major US newspapers are reading more and more like editorials and op-eds. Less and less it seems that we are just given the facts and allowed to develop our own opinion.
The result is that I must read a wide variety of articles covering the same topic in order to get all the facts. This isn’t a bad practice. It’s just time consuming. And, it means that I have to also sift through a lot of crap. And, let’s face it, I just want the news. I don’t want a writer’s opinion of the news. Or a worse trend, writers filling their space with opinionated quotes from people. Just the facts, please, just the facts.
I think this is a huge part of the downfall of American journalism. They’ve lost the ability to investigate or report. The newspaper companies like to blame the internet. But, in reality, the newspapers are failing because they are crap. People no longer trust them for the news. The very fact that papers can be clearly divided into a liberal or conservative groups, is proof that good journalism is dead. In addition, the belief of the reader that they can only read papers that have the same political sway as them is proof that we’ve settled for this truth. Journalism is dead.
The whole situation has left me feeling frustrated with and apathetic about the news. We don’t need to make the current issues seem any better or worse than they are. They are what they are. So please just report them that way.
This is just my opinion.