Friday, April 19, 2013

Too. Much.

Holy buckets, it's been a Week, hasn't it?

After Boston -- and West, Texas -- and while I'm at it, all the excitement over North Korea -- it's hard to know where to begin.

It's heartbreaking. And exhausting. And depending on how you're trying to stay up to date, absolutely maddening.

It's this last part I want to address today, because quite frankly, I don't think I can say anything comforting, reassuring, or sympathetic enough to be worth putting on paper/screen. Boston, West -- my heart goes out to you. I can't imagine the fear and pain, but I'll continue to hope and pray that it will be eased.

Now, as for the maddening aspects ... Well.

*

Dear National News Media:

What exactly are you trying to accomplish?!

Given the events of the last three weeks, I had to stop watching television. It's not that I don't want to know what's going on -- I just discovered that I didn't want to hear it from you. In fact, I turned it off sometime on Wednesday when I realized just how efficiently you were wasting my time.

It started with North Korea. You are aware, of course, that we do military exercises on a regular basis, right? You are also aware that we have a base in Seoul (and have for decades now)? Also, it does us no good to have pilots capable of long-range runs if they have never trained. "Fly over Canada" does not qualify as long range.

In fact, it's much easier to have these training exercises when the training target (in this case, South Korea) is both an ally and a location where we have a base. And ... here's a secret ... this happens more regularly than you might realize.

So when you have a slow news day, find out there's been an exercise and decide to blow things entirely out of proportion, thus giving a potentially unstable foe an opening to prove that He Is Not To Be Messed With, you are mostly just causing a massive problem for everyone.

[Side note: The fact that this news fiasco happened to coincide with the birthday celebration for Kim Il-sung -- the essential founder of North Korea as we know it and Kim Jong-un's grandfather -- just made things more interesting. Un needed an excuse to flex his muscles (such as they are) and you handed it to him on a silver platter. Way to go.]

After weeks of this, we were then assaulted with up-to-the-second coverage of Boston of questionable credibility.

Here's the thing.

1. Color commentary is for sports events. Don't use it to fill in the blanks between updates.

2. If you don't know the answer, don't speculate.
   
3. We like facts. We want to know what's going on. We don't need half-baked "investigation" with no confirmed details.

4. Jumping to conclusions does not help. By accusing an innocent, you are also robbing him or her of the chance to grieve what just happened -- in most cases, what happened right in his/her hometown.

5. "Chechnya" is not equivalent to "Moscow." I suggest doing a little more research into the relationship between the two.

And then there was the explosion in Texas.
 
6. Let the investigators find out who or what is to blame. There are people specially trained to make those determinations. You aren't. When they have a conclusion, you are more than welcome to report it.
 
7. Tell the whole story. And for crying out loud, don't slant your headlines -- not enough people keep reading.

For the record, I intend to rely on the internet for my news from now on -- at least there I can control who I read, when I read it, and hear it in my own biased voice instead of yours. Quite simply, whatever tenuous hold you had on my trust has been lost in your quest to one-up each other and get something -- ANYTHING -- on the news immediately, accurate or otherwise. At the very least, print allows for corrections and a full story instead of a sensational blurb that's only half-accurate.

Sincerely,
An Irritated Listener

*

Dear American Public:

Take a deep breath and be patient. Can you imagine how much lower your blood pressure would be if you got more than 10% of the story at any given point? If you waited to freak out until you actually knew something?

As irresponsible as media outlets seem to be, we aren't helping it any by demanding news -- any news -- right NOW. Those of us far removed (geographically, at least) can take a step back and wait, and those of us close to the action can look for reliable sources and keep our families safe. If you're going to take the time to listen, make sure you get the whole story and not just the hook.

Pay close attention to who you trust -- and especially who you repeat. Misinformation gets us in trouble.

Sincerely,
A Culprit (One of Your Own)

*

All right. I'm done.

For now.

1 comment:

Andi said...

I'd like to add one to this:

Dear Media,

Please do not name the suspects of any particular terrorist act/mass murder. We would like to know that the suspect has been identified and the threat has been handled by the authorities. Please allow that person to die in anonymity.