broken-tv

Too Much News

On April 15, 2013 many participated in the annual Boston Marathon.  For many of us throughout the rest of nation, it was somewhat of a normal day.  We went to work.  We lived our lives.  Some of us even did our taxes.  And then there was an explosion at the Boston Marathon.  After that terroristic attack on America’s innocents, many lives will never be the same.

I was at work when it happened.  I remember making a point to walk by the waiting room several times throughout the afternoon to see what was going on.  I would check the news on the Internet from time to time.  Like so many people across the world, I wanted to know what happened.

When I got home I, of course, watched the news.  I noticed, that the story had changed so many times from the time of actual bombing.  Once again, the media was guessing.  They were reporting rumor, grasping at straws to shove out the latest little detail before their competitor did.

The whole scenario reminded me of the September 11, 2001 attacks.  On both days, there was so much accurate information, so much inaccurate information, so much sorrow, and so much shock.  It seems the whole nation was glued to the television.  I was not.  I had to shut it off.

By April 16, I shut off my TV.  I couldn’t do it anymore.  The media had sickened me.  The story, the facts, had changed so many times it made my head spin.  I found I could get more accurate information by waiting and reading it online once or twice a day.  I avoided social networks as well.  Everyone seemed to have a “candle burning for Boston.”  Although my heart went out to the victims, their families and the city of Boston, all I could think of is when were the candles lit for victims of Kermit Gosnell?  Where were the candles for 150,000 regular people that die on any given day?  Where were the candles for the missing, the homeless, the addicted, the suffering?  Where were the candles for those that the media never covers because it doesn’t make good news?

On April 18th, my TV was still off.  I am sorry West, Texas; I did not watch your explosion.   Although, I found it ironic that 11 more people died in fertilizer plant explosion, yet once we found out it was an accident and not related to Boston, national media coverage was limited.

As much as I don’t want to admit it, I did turn the TV on April 19th.  I saw the pictures released the previous day.  I found out about the shooting at MIT, and found the citywide lockdown rather amazing.  I was surprised that people actually listened and stayed at home.  Again, I found the media spinning their wheels trying to chase down ghosts and scurrying to find any piece of information.  One suspect was dead and one was hiding in a boat.  I turned the channel to the food network and watched food porn instead.

As I think about the events of last week, I feel a twang of guilt.  Am I not a good American because I wasn’t glued to the news?  I did follow the story; I just couldn’t let it run my life.  I chose to spend my week differently.  I prepared for special events at work for this week.  I started projects for a new ministry activity for church.  Most of all, I prayed.  I prayed for those in West, Texas.  I prayed for the 14 that died in the fertilizer plant explosion.  I prayed for their families.  I prayed for 3 people that died at the Boston marathon.  I prayed for those that lost their limbs. I prayed for all that were injured.  I prayed for the security guard killed at MIT and those he left behind.  And by the end of the week, I found I prayed for Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.  I find myself praying for them a lot.  The world now knows them as evil terrorists but I also know they are someone’s brother, someone’s nephew, someone’s child.

So I have turned the TV back on.  I am slowly turning the news back on as they have starting to talk about other subjects.  I have yet to determine if I am better or worse for turning off the TV and not watching.  I question if turning off the TV makes me a cold and uncaring person.  I don’t think it does.  I stayed well informed and I didn’t have to watch 27/7 to find information.  I found that reading a few articles from different news sources kept me very informed, and I had the added bonus that the week of terror didn’t make me crazy.

When the next disaster happens, I most likely will turn of the TV news and I will still be informed.  And yes, my news junkie friends will not sleep as they need to see and know everything, and that’s ok.  But for me, I think it’s ok to shut off the TV.  It just makes me think that maybe we should shut off our news feeding devices and do something that we never have the time to do.