“Bad” News

This is going to resemble a lecture. If you have a problem with that, close the window. It won’t cost you anything.

Then again, it won’t cost you anything to stay. You might actually gain something.

The news has a purpose. It is here to enlighten, to empower and to educate. We go to school to learn about the past, or things that will be useful to us in the future. We turn to the news when we need to learn about now.

We use this information to make decisions that are needed now. Decisions informed by our past. Decisions that will ripple down into the future. The big decisions. The tough decisions. And lots of small, easy ones along the way as well.

But what if the news decides that that job isn’t important enough anymore? That, in fact, making money is more important? And if it realizes that one of the easiest ways to make money, is to entertain?

What is entertaining? Well, the news certainly isn’t. At least not the important news. The stuff that helps us make those big, tough decisions. That is not entertaining. That is, at best, boring.

“At best, boring” was not a typo. Every day, every one of us should wake up hoping that when we turn on the news, it is boring. Boring news means everything is working. It means the gears are turning along, well lubricated and without any squeaks. That the circuit breakers are kicking off when they are supposed to. And that nothing really needs our attention right now. Boring news is, if you will pardon the expression, good news.

Exciting news is, I beg your pardon once again, bad news. It means something broke. It means our attention is needed. It doesn’t mean the journalists are doing something wrong, it means something is wrong. It could mean our government isn’t working. It could mean our city, our state, our country isn’t working. It means it is time for us to step up and do the job that we have been educating ourselves for. The whole reason we have been turning on the news all this time.

But, wait! What if all we’ve been watching is entertainment? If, instead of educated, we’ve been amused? How do we, at that point, fix what is broken?

How indeed.

2 thoughts on ““Bad” News

  1. Me

    You mean when news try’s to be to much, “Built for Breaking News” or when you have reporters being told to slant stories and be one sided. That is when news becomes entertainment and is no longer news. Maybe just follow a mayor constantly or make sure the weatherman scares the hell out of people over 2 inches of snow. Sorry still just entertainment. I think it all has become that. No real news out there and every story we are told we must pay attention to. I just don’t want to anymore.

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  2. Elle

    Not a new perspective, coming from you, but very succinctly put. You’ve pretty much identified why I haven’t watched any “news” program in my adult life. I love the idea of being more informed than I now am, but that doesn’t seem to be the goal of any of the networks.

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