Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Anna Nichole Benet Spears Imus

Some people look at it as the nicety that there's nothing else going on in the news, that we have nothing else to worry about. The problem with that sentiment is that its wrong. At any rate, some of the garbage that gets called news makes me sick to my stomach.


The religion of Jesus Christ teaches that we should love all people. I confess that under some circumstances I have trouble loving certain people, but through no fault of their own. It is, rather, the fault of the "news" and "entertainment" media, who report upon warts that no one should ever see, much less care about.

I find myself turning off the radio a lot lately. This occurs generally when a non-news story is reported as news, and especially when such a story is reported for the umpteenth time or day in a row. I have to realize that yelling "Shuuuuut uuuuup!!!" at the radio does me no good, because the people on the other end can't hear me.

How important is it to us that a playboy playmate, who did nothing substantial in life, died, and that we now know the father of her child? This is not news, yet it has besmirched the pages and airwaves of our "news"papers and television and radio "news" reports for the past several months. A dear friend of mine, who contributed a great deal of substance to mankind, much of whose life was very newsworthy, has still yet to be mentioned by any of these "news" outlets.

It is sad when anyone is abused or killed. Unfortunately, it happens far too often. But occasionally, the "news" outlets get short-circuited on one news story. The likelihood is great that the overbilled "news" story of abuse or death is about a beautiful person, and not a normal one. This is not news. It is rather an affront to the families who children were abused and killed, but who weren't pretty enough to make the major headlines for days on end.

How is it news when a carefully crafted faux person does something outlandish to their body or divorces their 5th spouse? It's not. Why do the news outlets continue to feed us such putrescence? We don't like it, although it has become a voyeuristic addiction. If we know them, we can attempt to help them in their suffering, but to condone reportage of such events as news is bizarre.

Why should I care if a foul-mouthed, lecherous radio talk show host calls someone a name that everyone knows is not an accurate reflection of that person? How is that news? Can't we just ignore such people?

Why would anyone wish to prostitute themselves and their talents before a triumvirate of mockery--on international television, no less--when they know that the likelihood is enormous that they will be mocked? How could someone's sense of need for affirmation be so skewed? How can so many of us be so lacking in self-esteem that we need as an ego boost to see a litany of young talent embarrassed, belittled, and shamed?

The siren call of such obtuse events and behavior is beyond that which most of us can bear. Not only can we not avoid watching it, but we fashion ourselves as somehow great because we can talk eruditely about it around the water cooler the next day. Everyone among us claims to have become a psychotherapist--when in reality what everyone has become is a voyeur. We have real problems, but our reverence for ourselves and our society takes away our capacity to notice them.

We know their names, even though we really don't need to, and probably don't want to.

The local "family values" radio station almost inevitably bills as its top story (actually nearly its only story) over and over and over something that should be mentioned perhaps once if at all--a grizly murder, a rape, a child molestation, or such truck. We are spared the incessancy only by the dawning of a new day, which is graced with its own sometimes new "top story". How does emphasizing the one (or the few) bizarre acts give us an accurate reflection of our society? How does such qualify a news organization as a "family values" organization? How does such an organization win news reporting awards? But it has.

What kinds of "news" stories would the decadent Romans have listened to--if they had radios--just before their civilization fell? Exactly the kind most of us listen to today--the kind of non sequiturs that so many have the audacity to call "news". What kinds of talent shows would they have watched? The kind where the participants were fed to the lions.

4 comments:

  1. This is the reason I really appreciate NPR. I get annoyed at hints of bias sometimes, but I appreciate the diversity of news coverage they give me.

    KNRS news, as you point out, is frequently too grisly for me to listen to. I tried to listen to Bob Lonsberry in the mornings while I got ready for work, but I couldn't endure the news breaks.

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  2. Man Frank, I couldn't have said it better. Especially turning the radio/TV off when the news becomes "gossip" that nobody really cares about. And I talk to the radio all the time, usually in the same way you described.

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  3. "We don't like it.

    Oh, but we do like it. Or why else does our society keep rewarding that kind of "reporting"? Sensationalism sells. We hear it and think, "Oh, that's terrible. Someone ought to do something about it." And we also think, "At least my life's not that bad."

    News (TV, radio, paper) is little more than a category of entertainment. Should it be surprising that it has become über-glitzy, crass, vulgar, voyeuristic, and titillating, when that is the direction that the entire entertainment industry has gone?

    It is surprising, however, how readily money-driven structures respond to their customers. You don't like it, don't patronize it. If enough of us do that, it stops selling and it necessarily changes. But as long as there are enough willing to pay for it with their money and/or attention ...

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  4. Bradley,

    I do listen to Bob Lonsberry, but anymore (for the same reason you describe) I listen to 1480 AM quite a bit more.

    Danny,

    The incessant babbling at the radio must be a Santaquin thing! ;-)

    Scott,

    You raise an excellent point. I guess I'm trying to subliminally suggest to people "we don't like it" so they will stop patronizing it.

    P.S. The Rutgers b-ball team LOVES Imus--they get to be on Oprah now!!!

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