The news today is filled with grim stories of wars and tragedy. Every program seems to rush to be the first to show some new horrible act or to demonize someone for acting in a certain way. Every time you think that the news can’t get any worse, yet another awful event occurs. This would be bad enough on its own, but thanks to the 24 hour cable news cycle, news shows seem to feel as though they’ve got to extract every last ounce of story out of each event. And then, when the event is bone dry and can’t possibly have anything new and insightful added to the discussion, they’ll begin to speculate on who causes the event, who will act in what manner thanks to the event, or how this event might be repeated in an even more horrible manner soon.
Lately, I seem to have a low tolerance for watching the news. I keep informed about the bare facts of what is happening in the world, but I can’t stand the constant onslaught of people reporting on and/or commenting on the constant onslaught of bad events in this world. I seem to recall being able to withstand the news a lot more years ago. Now, though, I actively avoid any and all news programs. While in past years, I might have scoffed at "puff piece" or "human interest" stories, I now welcome them as a respite from "yet another senseless tragedy that we plan on graphically covering for the next 4 hours" coverage.
More than the "light news", though, I find myself retreating into fiction. I’d much rather delve into a good book or fill my brain with a TV show or movie than see the latest developments and speculation regarding some recent calamity. Maybe the news is just getting worse, maybe I just over-empathize, or maybe my free time is just too precious to fill it to the brim with catastrophe and suffering. Perhaps I just prefer a "reality" where some superhero can come swooping in to save the day instead of politicians swooping in to cash in on and argue over a tragedy while nothing gets fixed. (Sort of like this Dork Tower comic.) When I do decide to watch a "news program", I’ll often enjoy The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or The Colbert Report. At least there I get my news soaked in comedy, not tragedy.
Do you enjoy watching the news or do you find yourself avoiding it?
NOTE: The "tee vee" image above is by ceba and is available via OpenClipArt.org.