This is no fun for me…
Don’t get me wrong. Writing a blog is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Before going back to school full time, being a stay at home mom afforded me the luxury of indulging my interest in writing and nerdy stuff like web design and coding, as well as art. These are the things I wanted to (and I thought I would) be writing about. More recently, however, I’ve found myself driven to write about things that are becoming increasingly more important to me and should be to you, the reader, as well.
You see, when I’m not absorbed in doing what I love, I’m catching bits and pieces of the news and what I’m seeing (or more importantly what I’m not seeing) is very troubling to me. It has been for some time. But in light of the growing occupy movement on our own door step, my concern has grown exponentially.
With such a growing number of discontented people camping out in public parks and marching in city streets, voicing multiple complaints about the state of this country, why isn’t this being covered on every news station in the country?
When I first heard of the occupy movement, it was something I quite literally stumbled over; some small write-up on the internet. The event in question seemed big enough to garner attention from the major news networks, and I started looking for the coverage on TV because watching something takes less effort than reading about it…right?
I couldn’t find it. The occupy movement was not being covered on the news on ANY channel and according to what I’d read, this movement was coming up on its 2 month anniversary. To be honest, I didn’t spend an awful lot of time looking. I just didn’t care to. TV has always been low on my list of priorities, but I have family who love it, and they watch quite a bit of the news networks. I asked them if they had heard anything about the occupy movement. When they said they hadn’t, I became skeptical. I thought maybe they had and just didn’t want to get into the details with me, so I got back on my computer to see it I could learn more.
Apparently, this movement was growing in droves in cities all over this country, and I couldn’t find ANYTHING about it on TV, where there is nothing short of a half dozen news programs on any given day droning on and on all day long about stuff that will never directly effect any one of us.
Does anyone else find this odd? I thought the business of news was to tell it. I remember a time when that was all they did.
In fact, the news is one major reason why I never liked watching TV. My father used to watch it all the time and when I was a young girl, it terrified me; coverage of the Vietnam War and Watergate…I remember one time hiding behind the couch as my father yelled at the image in the new color screen of a TV he’d actually built himself. For the first time the images on the screen became more life like and real, bringing the content expressed so much closer to home.
A little later, about 30 years ago, when I was still quite impressionable, I would sit in front of the news and just shake my head. Reagan was president and my father would have you believe that ‘That man is trying to destroy the middle class! Everything we’ve worked hard for HE wants to take away.” As it would turn out, I believe he was right. He was and still is right about a lot of things.
Listening to what my father feared the most not only worried me, but turned me off to what was going on around me; around everyone. Even though I myself could see a point some place in the future where certain liberties and benefits Middle America enjoyed would no longer be there for others, it didn’t matter because it wasn’t affecting me then. The thought of it only served to scare me. So when my boyfriend and I heard “Let the next generation worry about it” from his beloved and respected grandfather…We did. Only we were not thinking so clear. WE were not only the next generation, but the one after that.
During those 30 years, I cringed and grabbed for the remote every time the anchor people started in with “President so and so said this, and so-and-so bill passed in the house affecting the…blah blah blah blah blah (this is me not listening; pick up a book, go get a snack, zone out, think about the exam you have coming up…Anything but this. Don’t listen to this. Close your eyes. Go to sleep.) The few times I was forced to listen, I SAW what was happening. Conscious parallels were being drawn in my mind to what was going on at that time and to what I was learning about in history class in continents that our ancestors grew up on and I’d hear my dad saying ‘They’re trying to bust up the Unions by moving the jobs south…’ and again, he was right! Maybe I could see this so clearly because I wasn’t so involved with listening about it all the time.
I didn’t spend a lot of time watching TV. I still don’t. I could never understand why people would want to spend their time watching and then talking about what was happening on daytime soaps and night-time drama. It wasn’t real, but they talked as if it were. And then a curious thing happened. I started to notice that the news was starting to look like those flashy programs everyone was talking about. I remember hearing, too, that the evening news was losing viewers to evening programming.
Nelson ratings were being talked about in regards to the news and I remember thinking GREAT! That’s wonderful. WHO CARES! No…wait. REALLY?! If that were not enough, they were talking about adding a 24 hour news channel to cable. The voice in my head was saying ‘That’s never going to fly.’ an all day music channel is something I would and eventually did TUNE into, but the news? It happened in 1980. It was news, but not news we needed to hear; news about other places scattered all over the globe. People watched anyway because this news didn’t affect them. It wasn’t our economy, or our crime or our wars. It was happening somewhere else to someone else and as long as it took our minds off of what was happening here, we were alright. As long as we could turn around and say ‘and we thought we had it bad…’ we were willing to overlook the state of our own union and just be lulled into a false sense of security.
And then suddenly we became a nation obsessed with the news.
When you anchor yourself to an environment, you don’t notice the subtle changes that occur, but when you leave and come back after having been away for a while those subtle changes suddenly seem drastic. That being said, I watched as stuffy old stodgy mothballs sitting around in a room with dim lighting and clacking typewriter keys were replaced by young, attractive, well-dressed, and spirited individuals in soft lighting and bright shiny sets, and we all fell in love with them! Even I enjoyed watching the morning news as I got my children ready for school. They made us all laugh, didn’t they?
Suddenly, it became fashionable to put a TV in the kitchen JUST TO WATCH THE NEWS while dinner was being made, or while we emptied the contents of fast food bags down our throats (In yet another facet of the slow erosion of America…).
But, it isn’t news anymore people…it hasn’t been for a long time. It’s ENTERTAINMENT and for some reason I can’t quite fathom, I need to have real news. Not these horrible-yet-attractive ugly people dressed in the finest threads spewing venomous hate, telling me a bunch of bull they get paid to say…oh wait, I guess I do know. My bad.
Step back from your couches and the present moment and revisit the past. How do you remember it? If that doesn’t help, imagine your life like a facebook timeline in increments of 5 yrs. Park yourself mentally at each point and do a little reflecting. Look around you. What do you see? What do you hear? Now, forget about what you see and hear and think about the way you feel. Are you seeing and hearing one thing and feeling something different or have you been permanently sucked into the abyss that is cable TV and News networks. Are you hearing only one thing over and over again? Is it because it is true or because that’s what they want you to believe? Are you hearing things that should be reported? Are you not?
Our own nation is in the throes of something very important and we have a news media that is not covering it. What else are they not covering? This should be enough to make anybody, even me, sit up and listen. ..And it has.
Not only to the situation with the occupy movement, but also the politics of this nation. I want all sides, and I want it unbiased. Don’t you?
Here’s hoping we start seeing.
Happy reading and may your thoughts be progressive!