Monday, September 23, 2013

How the news media fertilizes depression

I sent a note to a friend of mine the other day and mentioned that I had had a “radio-free” day and felt less stressed because of it.

Sounds a bit strange, but it seems that whenever I turn on the radio (mostly CBC because I like talk radio rather than music-based formats) all I hear about is murder and mayhem in various parts of the world.   It may be chemical gas attacks in Syria, shopping mall massacres in Kenya, multiple killings in Washington, Senate spending scandals in Ottawa, corporate rip-offs or the pro-separatist government in Quebec denying basic rights.

Is it any wonder that the focus on negativity causes stress?

Those of a certain age will remember former U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew, who served under President Richard Nixon.  Agnew was known for his scathing criticisms of political opponents, especially journalists, whom he described as "nattering nabobs of negativism".

In so many ways, he was right.

I listened to part of a national radio newscast this morning and turned off the radio.  I just don’t want to hear any more of that stuff.  There’s enough doom and gloom in this world already.  I don’t need to hear about any more nutcases with automatic weapons, killing innocent people and justifying it as some great religious conflict.

Have you noticed how often now you hear the disclaimer before a news story on TV or radio, “What follows is very graphic and may not be suitable for children”?  My question to those in media is why do you feel compelled to show it?  The best recent example was the bodies in Syria stacked up like so much firewood.  Who knows who was responsible, but you can believe that both sides were milking it for whatever political advantage they could get.  Media agencies fall over themselves to promote their story as being “exclusive”.  So much of it is staged for the cameras.  Sensationalism is the new standard.

Meanwhile, we drink this shit like so much grape Kool-Aid.  Think of the reality shows on TV.  The lowest common denominator is what prevails now.  I enjoy watching the Food Network now and then, but even their latest offering is called “Cut Throat Kitchen”.  I guarantee that’s one show I won’t be watching, along with so much other garbage.  It’s cheap to produce and attracts the rubber-neckers just like a highway accident.

As a wise man once said, "Resist the urge to be negative in thought and word. It can be like a cancer that destroys from within."

Have a nice day, eh.


Wisewebwoman said...

I'm with you, Veep. None of this mayhem (if it bleeds, it leads) has any appeal for me while the world is in its death spirals.

No teevee now for 23 years and counting and I avoid radio unless of the documentary variety. I glean bits from the web but mainly play music of my choosing.

PS good to see you writing, my friend :)

ViewPoint2010 said...

I agree with you about the death spiral. TV still provides me with a lot of entertainment, especially some of the well-written stuff in so many genres. I could live without it, but it's a nice relaxer after a long busy day. I have a great music collection, but haven't even gotten around to unpacking the CDs two years after I moved in here. Maybe getting that organized can be my Christmas present to me. :-)