The news. I know I need to read it, watch it, stream it, overwhelm myself with it, but point blank? It pisses me off.
It’s not the media folk themselves, as I myself am a journalist in theory/on a diploma abandoned somewhere. The troubling thing is what they are reporting.
There are currently two overwhelming sectors of news reporting which can only be labeled as “Really?” and “Fucking Tragic.” Sometimes they blur, especially of Michele Bachmann is involved.
These stories, like the brilliant Seth and Amy segment on SNL, just make you think/say/scream “Really?” I’m talking about the way-too-much coverage of Kim Kardashian’s wedding, the over-introductions at the Tea Party debate, and your garden variety WTF stories. I’m not saying I don’t get a laugh out of a Swedish moose that can’t hold his alcy, but if you’re giving it more than a blip of coverage, you’re probably a shitty reporter or in desperate need of a Tumblr account. If I want news that’s gonna bust my gut or make me scratch my head, I’ll go looking for it on sites like The Onion or the aforementioned and almighty Tumblr. I don’t, however, expect to be gunned down repetitively with the same style of stories from real serious respected established news outlets.
I don’t have to really explain this aspect of the news, but in case you haven’t been paying attention, every night we are regaled of tales that involve death and despair. While it is true this is a reflection of our world, this pain is often extorted for ratings. The other night, the leading story on the 11 p.m. news was about a deadly plane crash at an air show. As if this wasn’t awful enough in itself, we were then presented a video of the crash as it happened. It wasn’t as widespread as say a 9/11, but it was just as horrifying to see. There are accounts of young soldiers dying around the world, governments that are in shambles, and politicians who are bigoted, crazy, or both. There is a distinct lack of a bright side in our papers and our airwaves. Oh, except for when those Really? stories get a day or six of coverage.
There are still some standouts: Both “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” do a wildly good job at commentating on the goings-on of the world, especially for two shows that are at their base satire, a form of comedy. We have reporters like Anderson Cooper and Brian Williams, but in order to bring us their stories, they have to play off of their personas in many a comedic cameo. The New York Times will always be solid. There will always be shining glimpses of hope in the media, but they will always be overshadowed by these nutso networks (FOX) and stories that either make us want to punch babies or kill ourselves.
I just don’t know how to balance being an educated citizen and journalist, and not being depressed or full of rage all the time. I’m constantly searching for a way to fix it because that’s my job, but it is also the job of thousands of others out there who simply are not doing it.