Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rants: Bad News

Over at Vox Nova, regular contributor Sam Rocha has posted a piece registering his disgust at the news. His post begins with the sentence, I’m sick of the “news.” And he concludes his reflections with, Sure, there are better and worse “news” outlets and we shouldn’t opt to live under a rock, but, in the end, the effect is the same for me today: nausea. How about you?

Well, since Sam asked, I made the following comments (very slightly amended here) in response:

What does it signify that reportage concerning events in “the news” is immediately susceptible to such a variety of slants, spins, analyses, and interpretations, both at the source (the media) and by its consumers (you and me)?

Is this because “the news” contains no Truth upon which you and I can agree? Or is it because you and I make use of the information conveyed to us through the media as raw materials, in order to construct the subjective pseudo-truths which serve to scratch our personal (and/or tribal) itches?

As a for instance, is President Obama taking heat over his response to the BP oil spill from many people because he is pro-choice, rather than because of his response to the BP oil spill itself?

As another, is organized labor in this country being systematically demonized and dismantled (despite its long history of struggle and sacrifice and its huge historical effect in raising everyone’s standard of living) because it has become somehow “unAmerican”; or is it primarily envy causing the rancor?

In short, do we now use news items primarily as brickbats to throw at the head of “the Other” rather than as reports on happenings in the world that may demand our attention as problem-solvers and agents of goodwill toward our fellow man?

Do we use “the news” primarily “against,” rather than “for?”

Do we seek out voices whose constant refrains are “con-,” rather than “pro-?”

All that negativity! No wonder we feel lousy!

NB: Click here to hear Sam jam!