Mongrels for Media

I took a much needed hiatus with my parents to a slopeside cabin last week. I did some skiing (which I’m not very good at), some snowboarding (which I am much better at), some hot tubbing, and a lot of trashy TV watching.

I haven’t had cable TV for about a year now. Even though I work in TV, I have to say, I really don’t miss watching it. Growing up, I was a mongrel for media. I watched a loooot of Disney Channel. A lot of MTV. A lot of Bravo. This past week, I browsed many channels thinking, “There’s nothing on.” And what was the worst was the news. Oh my goodness, the news isn’t even news – it’s…..the only word I can think to describe it is bullshit.

Which got me thinking – no matter what platform, CNN, FOX, MSNBC, these “news channels” have one priority, and one priority only. That is, getting viewers. Their top most priority is not to inform viewers. And that’s kinda messed up.

Right now in the news is the Steubenville Case. I swear, they didn’t shut up about it. And I kept thinking, “This is sick. Stop talking about it, you are only giving the situation more power. Glorifying it in this sick, twisted way. To make money.” I felt the same way about the Newtown Shooting. When I saw it on the news at the gym, it was like “Breaking News” turned into a sadistic barrage of horror. Is it really healthy to watch hours at end of such human savagery?

Where is the line crossed that “being informed” turns into “hankering for media past the point of being beneficial”? I remember being told that if you have a tendency towards depression, stay the heck away from the news. In fact, stay away from television entirely. It’s kinda true. We watch all of this stuff thinking we’re informing ourselves about the world, but when do we cross the line? It’s surely a fine one.

I’m not saying I’m some saint for not watching television. Don’t worry – I still get my media in the form of Twitter, Huffington Post, and occasionally BBC News. (I do have an antenna, that grants me access to all 5 PBS stations we broadcast.) I’m just saying that we should be careful to not indulge too much in the media hype. I think it has polarized our nation, made us think we are far more informed than we actually are, and created a platform for us to villify anyone who thinks differently than us – after all, an entire station is slamming the left or right, so it’s okay for me to do the same. (Remember, they don’t actually care about being “unbiased” or “just”, they only care that you watch them, therefore you watch their commercials.) This does not create a friendly environment for cooperative conversation on an array of subjects.

They were talking about the Pope, too. I’m sitting here thinking, “No offense, but what do you know about Catholicism? What gives you any authority on the subject? Read the Catechism, learn theology, do some research, and then come talk to me.” Some blatantly wrong statements were espoused and I thought, “This is why I get attacked for being Catholic. People watch this kind of crap and assume they know everything about my faith.” It’s not a full picture. I have a post in the works about why apologetics are NOT in my career path – but I will say the media bias isn’t making things any easier for me. With the HHS Mandate, Benedict stepping down, Francis taking lead, the Church has been in the news a lot. I am forced into a spotlight that I don’t want to be in.

My mom (half jokingly, half serious) always told me the television was the devil. Well – that and Facebook. I think there’s some truth in that, the television part at least. I have noticed in this last year without it, my well being overall was in a much better place. Coming back to it, a lot of things on TV are just….fruitless.

Ok, ok. I will still occasionally watch an episode of Real Housewives. Or Patty’s Millionaire Matchmaker. Again, I am no saint. But I’m working on being very critical when it comes to the media I consume. It can do more damage than good, if ill chosen.

*On a completely different note – my first Kindara Promo is up and live! Watch it here and share a story or two about your fertility. (I just couldn’t have a post without mentioning FAM at least once.)

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