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I read the news today… Except, I didn’t. Because these days I generally don’t. I find the sadness and horror distressing and heart breaking. I find the bias and spin depressing and disheartening.
I used to read the news every day, without fail. I wanted to know what was going on in the world; events, politics, commentary. I enjoyed a bit of gossip; the red carpets, reality shows, fashion.
Gradually though, I found much of the news harder and harder to read. Disasters, famine, war, senseless violence; it was all too much. Crying every time I opened a paper or switched on the news wasn’t compatible with a happy and positive outlook. I began to skim headlines, keep up to date with the big stories, but stay away from the detail.
The celebrity catastrophes and reality show dramas have become so extreme as to be ridiculous and in all honesty depressing and sad.
And as for spin, manipulation, lies? I have little patience for ‘news’ full of conjecture and misdirection.
But! However distressing we might find the latest horror story, I do believe we need to be aware of the world around us. I may prefer to get the bulk of my news from snippets; picking and choosing the stories that I read in full; but I still know what is going on.
If we are to engage in debate, we need to understand the issues. If we are going to comment or give opinion, we need to have the facts.
I read an article last week that espoused the view that all TV/computers/video games should be banned for children under twelve. It referenced several documents and research studies which apparently backed up this suggestion. However, if you investigated further (which I did), there were several other articles written in response, which rebutted each statement that the writer had made. In particular pointing out the misuse and misrepresentation of research data in the original article.
At first glance this was an article that appeared to be clear cut and factual and I imagine that many people would have taken it at face value. However, further reading made it quite clear that there were serious flaws in the argument and conclusions reached.
So much of the news we read has been spun. We need to take great care in the conclusions we come to.
My problem is in how to stay informed, but avoid the horror and tears, the gossip and hearsay. The news deserves to be read, people’s stories need to be told. We should celebrate the good, condemn the bad. We cannot fight for justice if we are not aware of the struggle.
But some days I simply cannot bear to take on board more sadness, more frustration at things that should not be. To feel the unfairness, the misery.
I want to read the news today, but I’m not sure I can.
[PS. I don’t want to open a debate on TV time for two year olds, that’s a whole other post :)]
You can find this weeks #ThePrompt linky here. I do hope this week’s prompt inspired you; I look forward to reading your posts.