It’s not anal. It’s mental.
(I think I may have just identified what I want written on my tombstone.)
Something happened almost immediately after the US election on November 8th last year – I stopped turning to cnn.com. Or watching the news, referring to newspapers or even worse, political Facebook posts.
I didn’t do this because I figured there was nothing I could do anyway and so I might as well assume the ostrich position and stick my head in the sand. I did it because I was tired of feeling down, helpless and as if everything was so awful.
It isn’t. No matter how much I knew that though, I just couldn’t help but feel bad – really bad – about my kids’ future, the country I lived in, people I knew, and on and on and on. So, I decided, at least temporarily, to cleanse myself of all things Wolf Blitzer, Megan Kelly and posts that started with “I have refrained from posting anything until now but….”.
A remarkable thing happened, too. I felt better. Not “before and after” better, but slightly ok with just being. In full transparency, it’s not as if I stopped talking about it, or rather I should say, joking about it, because that’s what I do when I get uncomfortable (hence my proclivity for comedy). (Note the use of the words “hence” and “proclivity” in one sentence. Yes, someone is trying to prepare their sophomore son for the SATs, and quite unsuccessfully I might add.)
This may not seem like such a big feat for most but you have to understand – I come from a house where we watched Tom Brokaw as if he were a 5th family member at our dinner table. It was me, my sister, my mom and my dad and Tommy Brokaw there in front of us on the small, black and white Philco (and then, eventually, full color RCA).
This was then followed with the news show of the evening – 60 Minutes on Sunday, and then 48 Hours, Primetime Live and Dateline are the three that come to mind. Is it really a surprise I wanted to be a journalist or depressed poet?
The news meant something. There wasn’t a discussion about left, right or commentary. It was just who seemed to be more likeable. I don’t recall one conversation about Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, Morley Safer, Diane Sawyer, Connie Chung or even Stone Philips (remember him?) being biased. Andy Rooney? Sure – but that was sort of his job. These were news reporters and that meant something.
Now we see Don Lemon getting wasted on CNN and it increases viewership. It is the movie Network but worse. This is no parody. This is reality.
I have to say that after some investigation, I am really torn as to what to believe and where to get information from. I have read or spoken to people who rely on alternate sources like ProPublica and Mother Jones. Maybe I’ll go back to my post-college days of reading The Utne Reader (if it’s still around), though I have to say, my back has gotten used to assuming the new yoga position of “The Ostrich”.
Until next time,