I have just had to close off a web page in which I started to read an entry talking about how a recent tragedy in the media made a woman rethink her decision to have children. She spoke about how she listened to the news over and again, even when there was nothing new to report, because she couldn’t shift her mind to anything else.
I know that feeling. Last year I felt that way when a woman went missing and was subsequently discovered to have been murdered in a neighbourhood I used to live in. I wanted every little piece of information – it affected me directly. But did it? I had walked those streets at night myself, sometimes alone. But that was in my former life. I didn’t know this woman or her family or her friends. Something in that story connected with me. In other words, the media did a really good job of engaging me (and many others) with this story so that we would tune in 24 hours a day to their news cycle.
The 24 hour news cycle does not give us more news. It doesn’t give us better news. It doesn’t give us the news we want when we want it. It just spends more time finding details we don’t need to know about the people “starring” in this weeks tragedy.
Now that I am a Mum and my emotions are so raw and my skin is so thin I no longer watch the news. I don’t read the news. I don’t listen to the news. I know that if something happens that BP feels I should know, he’ll tell me. And if he doesn’t, my FB feed will. I refuse to get obsessed with the news just because the media wants me to be.
Recently a new acquaintance, on learning that I teach Grade One, suggested that “Newtown must have really affected me”. I think what happened in Newtown is a dreadful tragedy. I didn’t torture myself reading stories that outlined step-by-step what happened that day. I didn’t seek out pictures of the victims or read about how their families reacted to their lives turning upside down – permanently. I didn’t spend time imagining that happening in my school, either.
I refuse to be your pawn, News Source. I will control what I see and what I know, because I can’t undo that. I can’t un-see things I’ve seen and I can’t un-know what I’ve known. So these days I make those decisions for myself.
Therefore, the TV and I are no longer friends.