Thursday, September 13, 2018

Blessings In Disguise

Last week, our satellite dish went on the fritz--we've never had a significant problem with it before, but without question, our receiver died.  Dead.  And the satellite folks couldn't come out for a week.  I was a little ticked off about that considering what we pay for that service, but it was clear that my being annoyed didn't change the facts.  It was going to be a week.  Valerie bought an antennae so we could at least get the local stations during that long dry week--in fact we get more stations than I thought.

By the third day, I noticed something--I didn't miss all those channels.  In fact, there were three or four channels in particular that I spend too much time flipping between that I realized I didn't need at all.  In fact, I've enjoyed few things more recently than not having that dish.  Sometimes the things we think are necessities are actually hindrances to us. When that dish went down, it was actually a blessing--we didn't have a choice but to live without it for awhile.  And what we found is that maybe we don't need it at all. 

Every evening, I invite people into our home that don't have our best interests at heart.  They try to tell us how to think, how we should feel about things, and what our opinions should be based on political ideology of their network or cable news outlet.  Those networks work hard to make people afraid, or make people angry, or entrench people in one way or the other on specific issues.  There's a motive, but it's not to educate and inform, or report facts.  Their motive is simply to get one group of people on one side of the middle to stay home and the group on the other side of the middle to go out and vote.

I'm going to tell you, a week without CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and the networks has been a real blessing without a doubt.

They'll fix our dish in a day or two.  I think it's likely we're going to drop our dish.  I think in my household, we've learned a valuable lesson about what we need and what we don't need in our home.  We think we need to watch the news to be informed, but they are actually robbing us of our ability to think for ourselves.  Sadly, I've always been able to see the bias, even on my own side of the political spectrum, but too many people are not able to see it, and they don't bother to check what they're being fed. 

I study issues before I adopt an opinion about them--I study both sides of a debate, I read the facts relating to the issue, and form an opinion on the issue based on that research.  Most Americans rely on what they're told.  They parrot what the "news" tells them.  I see it on Facebook all the time--smart people that have no idea that what they are saying is a talking point and not an actual fact.  For instance, all this talk about the Supreme Court lately, and I hear news people talking that don't seem to know the difference between a Supreme Court precedent and a Constitutional Right.  I heard one talking head say just last week on CNN that there was fear that the Supreme Court might rule differently on the Constitutional separation of church and state--of course anybody that has read the Constitution knows there is no separation of church and state in the Constitution--nothing.  That's not a Constitutional issue--that's a precedent of the court.  I could have probably told you that in the 8th grade, because that's when we first looked at the Constitution and studied what it said.

Here we are in the information age, with 24-hour news coverage, the internet, and an ability to read actual source documents right from our phones, and Americans today are overwhelmingly less informed about just about every issue today than we were just a few decades ago. 

Thirty years ago, Americans would watch a little news in the morning, maybe pick up the newspaper and peruse it over coffee, and then watch an hour in the evening (30 minutes national and 30 minutes local news).  I think we were far better informed of the facts then, because those news broadcasts and newspapers were focused to deliver very specific information in a very tight space, so we got just what we needed to know.  And Americans had very little patience for inaccuracies in news reporting--a retraction or a piece that was later found to be inaccurate actually made the news and damaged the reputation of the newspaper or network news provider (remember Dan Rather's fast fall from grace as the CBS news anchor).  Even the editorial pages were more responsible in their opinions, and more thoughtful in their arguments--of course I think the writers were better then, and tended to base their opinions on facts instead of ideologies no matter what side of the political fence the writer was--and even strong editorials were more civil in their discourse than they are today.  There was little time or space for conjecture, talking head opinion panels, and all the rest.  News was news and entertainment was something totally different--and Americans knew the difference!

That form of journalism doesn't exist in America anymore.  And at least in my household, we're opting out of it all together.  I'll get my news through a couple news collection sites I trust in the mornings over coffee like I used to over the newspapers in decades past--a little news from the left and a little from the right, and the truth is usually somewhere in the middle.  But I'll make my own decisions about what is accurate, what is factual, and how I think and feel about things.  I just don't believe our news media anymore--they've lost their credibility.  When they get their acts together (and their facts) and I feel I can trust their reporting again, maybe I'll tune back in again.

~Todd E. Creason, 33°

1 comment:

  1. Great points Todd. I've been telling my daughter's something very similar for a few years now.


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