I just didn’t understand it. Most of the time, the news segments were the same. They never talked about anything happy, or if they did, they would just throw it into a newscast sloppily and nonchalantly. For every 30 minute time slot dedicated to news, there were probably 8 minutes of commercials, 15 minutes of depressing information, 4 minutes of sports and weather, and 3 minutes of uplifting news. Sometimes the “uplifting news” was something as trivial as “A dog was rescued from a tree in Japan.” Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not an animal hater. But I don’t understand the point of watching 30 minutes of hearing about murders and crimes and corrupt politicians and natural disasters all for the sake of hearing about a puppy that was rescued clear across the planet. But that’s just me.
When I read, my mind was engaged, and it was easier for me to differentiate between facts and opinions. I could easily tell if someone held an irrational grudge against someone else and that their facts were skewed, or if they made up something for attention, or if they had no idea what they were talking about and simply just wanted to be heard louder than the rest. When I got up the nerve to try to watch a little bit of news with my family, I noticed that it was much harder to gain any information. For one, there were so many advertisements that your mind couldn’t focus on that by the time the news would come back on, you were so desperate for any information that you’d cling to any little bit they would give you. I noticed my grandpa would often flip between news stations, and on several occasions, I would hear conflicting information from the two stations. It was much harder to differentiate who was telling the truth and who was lying. In fact, it was almost as if you accepted that whomever was talking to you had to be teling you the truth, otherwise they couldn’t have been on the news.
I could notice inconsistencies between news stations. One station would say one thing about the President, while another station would say something completely different. How can you tell who is telling the truth? I thought. It just felt like most news stations were only saying things to reinforce their own agendas, and little truth was to be found anywhere. How would you know who to believe when one news station said A and another news station said B except to listen to the one that was most compatible with your own preconceived viewpoints?
Noticing this reinforced my own viewpoints of not watching the news. I could see that it would just lead to trouble and I could tell all of the manipulation that went on in every newscast. I can’t be the only one to see this, I thought, but no one else seemed to bring it up, and without fail, would continue to watch it religiously. I thought about asking my grandpa how he knew who was telling the truth, but I hadn’t the nerve to confront him about it because I had a feeling it would lead to trouble.
Read excerpts from the first story here.