Posted by: Nathan | April 29, 2007

News Media Exhaustion

I have a confession to make: I hardly pay attention to the news anymore. It’s not that I don’t care about what happens; I do. It’s not that I think news is unimportant; it’s not. I just can no longer stomach the majority of news media.

How bad is this: I get the weekend newspaper out here and never read it. Sometimes, I don’t even take it out of its bag. I can’t say I feel bad about it either; I’d rather do other things. I suppose it’s a microcosm of my feelings toward all media. There are many reasons why I’ve distanced myself from the press. Oh, and like Sideshow Bob and television, I’m well aware of the irony of using media to denounce it. Onward…

The first reason the news no longer interests me is something that’s been made much of recently: bias. Whether the bias is left or right-wing doesn’t even matter to me much any longer. I see right through it. Everything from the anchors chosen and which stories make air to which columnists last and especially how stories are treated. I can’t think of a single person in the media who consistently presents current events without permitting squiself to editorialize, if only a little. I don’t need to hear everyone’s biases.

Secondly, there are too many media to pay attention to, and they’re all always on (newspaper excluded, which not coincidentally is slowly becoming irrelevant). I can’t and won’t devote my life to staying “up-to-date” on whatever crap is going on.

Thirdly, I cannot endure the speculation that passes as a story or news. This particular problem is even at work on my beloved SportsCenter. These days sports journalists spend more time predicting, opining, and debating than showing highlights and breaking down what’s already happened. Yeah, I like a good spirited debate occasionally, and it’s fun to hear people’s predictions once in a while; however, this trend has gotten out of hand. Here I should add that the format of a show, page, or website is most important when speculation is involved. If I know said medium is editorial or opinion-based, I don’t mind as much; usually, I just don’t pay attention to it. PTI is the great exclusion.

Lastly, there are far too many insignificant stories that get press because the media has proliferated itself until it is far too large. How many channels are 24-hour news? They have to talk about something for all that time. Some things need processing time, especially disasters and tragedies, so a few days of reporting aren’t so bad. But then we have the stupid stories that won’t die e.g. Anna Nicole Smith. Leave her alone. She’s dead, and so is this story. I stopped caring the day after she died. Shut up about it already.

I know I’m sounding crotchety and disgruntled, but I’ve lost my patience with you, mainstream media. Going forward we’ll do things on my terms. If and when I want news, weather, sports, or opinions, I’ll find you. Most of the time, however, I just don’t care anymore, and I know I’m not alone.

If you want us all to care more, media (and I think you do), scale it back, pipe down, be straight-forward and (gasp!) professional, keep your opinions to yourself (I could not care less), cover what is and has happened, keep speculation to a minimum, and ignore stories that just don’t matter. Until then, I’m done with you.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. That was awesome. I’m currently enjoying user driven news sites like Digg and keeping my eye on others like Newsvine and the new Netscape.com. You still get a dumbed-down mob mentality prevailing, but its often more interesting (with more opinions represented) than Big News.

    Oh, and I don’t think I’ve ever been exposed to “squiself” before. I think that’s what it took to sell me on squi.

  2. I can surely relate, my friend, though I hope you don’t swear off the media entirely. There’s a lot of good stuff out there, particularly in newspapers. For my money, though there’s always bias, the Washington Post and the New York Times do a pretty good job of reporting stories. You can take or leave the opinion sections, but the straight reporting is great. If you’re looking for quick-hit, “who-what-when-where-why” reporting on world events, the BBC is a pretty good, pretty short resource (that, admittedly, has a left-leaning bias at times).

    I couldn’t care less about the 24-hour news networks; I think they’re pretty durn useless. I also wholeheartedly agree that news stories become so huge because of the 24-hour news networks (cf. Anna Nicole Smith, Don Imus, Michael Richards, Mel Gibson).

    If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to read ESPN Ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber’s column about her first impressions of ESPN. I think you’ll find yourself agreeing with her a lot.

  3. Thanks, PK and Jason, for the recommendations. I tend to go to the extreme in my posts; I tried to avoid that here, but I probably wasn’t successful. Of course I can’t boycott all media or news outlets entirely, but I certainly am moving away from them. I will check out the BBC or Newsvine next time I want news.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: