As I waited at Firestone for a new tire to replace the blowout I had Tuesday, I was stuck listening to the morning news. In twenty minutes I heard about mass destruction from weather, a sick robbery, rape and multiple murder by fire, and the questionable death of a surfer found with methadone. Any being capable of the slightest bit of empathy is affected by such information. I was sickened at the negative focus of broadcast news.
Each and every morning hundreds of millions of Americans are watching and listening to these messages. Even if consciously we recognize that horrific reports represent only a tiny fraction of people, what type of subconscious image does this paint of the people in our society? What image does this impart globally to people who watch our broadcast stations? At the very least it portrays our culture as a sadistic, with a fetish for shocking news.
I stopped paying for cable television in 2006, following the lead of my friend Aakin who had dumped cable a few years earlier. There was very little worth watching, it wasn't available when I had time to watch it, and the programming I did enjoy* was plagued by commercials. The act of changing my content consumption from cable to internet video via Netflix and other commercial free web video, has been an absolute win decision on every level.
I'm not suggesting we turn a blind eye to negative events in our nation. But there's absolutely no need to make tragedies the driving focus of news. Good riddance cable and network television. I'm satisfied getting high quality programs piecemeal and commercial fee via Internet subscriptions services. I couldn't be happier getting my news by reading sharp bloggers and curators in areas I'm most concerned with (startups, tech, coding).
*= cable shows/channels I dig: comedy central, history channel, discovery channel, and scifi before it was syfy.