I was reading an article on a newspaper website when their right column caught my eye. What caught my eye was just the sheer level of carnage. Story after story appeared to be awful.
I scrolled to the top of the column thinking that this group of stories would surely be headlined with something like, “The Most Depressing Crap We Could Find,” or “These Things Happened But They Don’t Really Affect You Personally.”
The headline was, “Editor’s Picks.”
Editor’s Picks for most awful news that can only make you feel badly about where you’re living? If those are the picks, what stories did the editor reject?!
I recently had to hide the Facebook stream of a friend I like but I’d say 80% of his postings are what I’d call the worst of the police blotter. If someone was raped, shot, mugged, or attacked near where he lives (or sometimes nationally), if something’s on fire, if children were murdered, molested, or kidnapped, if a terrible crime has happened, he’s going to re-broadcast it to all of us… normally with some comment like “WTF?” My thought is normally “why TF are you posting this?!”
Every day, I get to wake up and decide what’s part of my day. And what’s often NOT part of my day is “the news.” Does that mean I’m not completely hip to what’s going on? Sure, I miss some things. I’m a little late to the party sometimes. I might be the last to know that a Kardashian took another selfie. Or that someone in some town I never heard of was raped.
And that’s OK.
Where’s the good news?
My boyfriend attempted to find a “good news” site recently. I found every story being some twist on something horrible. First headline I saw supposedly a sweet story about a dog with cancer. I don’t know how you define good news, but a dog with cancer is NOT good news. Never.
Another headline is some guy interrupted his first date with someone so he could pull someone from an exploding car. Exploding cars are NEVER good news. Doesn’t make me happy. I’m glad everybody ended up alive, but it still sounds like a story with a lot of bad details.
The few times I catch the national evening news, it looks like it’s OK to give you 29 minutes of crappy, negative, potentially upsetting stories, but finish it with one feel-good minute. If your brain then thinks you had 30 minutes of feel-good, your brain has tricked you. You had 29 minutes of fire, rape, injury, death, car crash, and civil rights violations and then 1 minute of someone found an elderly veteran’s medal and gave it back.
How does hearing or reading these things improve my day?
It doesn’t. What am I really missing? And why is “news” just a never-ending list of stuff to be upset about or afraid of? I look forward to society evolving and the “news” becoming something more useful and positive.
Back in Tucson, I once watched the news and there was a report on what to do if you get caught in a dust storm. The next day, I was caught in a dust storm. That was freaking HELPFUL. Where’s that?! Why isn’t the news full of cool “life hacks” (hate that word) that will make your life easier? How about heads up on how to solve common problems based on where you live (not everybody needs the dust storm how to)?