First off, I apologize if there are any obvious spelling errors or changes in direction. My cat, Shadow, has determined that she will sit on my lap whether I want her to or not. Seeing as how my cats more or less determine what I am allowed to do while I am at home, this is not a big surprise.
Anywho, the point of this post is regarding my recent decision to listen to the news more frequently, primarily because I was tired of only finding out about things weeks after they happened and being completely uninformed regarding national and world news. It is hard for me to acknowledge that I don’t know a whole lot about important (or what seems important now) matters and I like to be involved in such conversations.
This has been both an interesting experiment and a bit frustrating depending upon which way I want to view it. It is an interesting experiment because I am able to take part in more conversations and feel a bit more educated about things that are going on. For example, today I was able to actually take part in a discussion with my father regarding the failed North Korean missile launch. I felt pretty good about it at the time and even now feel like my decision has already demonstrated benefits. It is frustrating because more often than not I only get to hear the morning and evening commute shows and they often will have the same news on repeat for at least a day, if not two or three. They even use the same sound clips from “on-the-ground” reporters, so there is really no new information and I get bored and will channel surf.
I am also disappointed in myself for not being able to tolerate listening to “right-wing” talk shows. Even when I try to commit myself to doing so just so I can understand what it is that people whom I may not agree with are hearing and what influences their thought processes I am unable to listen for more than a few minutes without getting disgusted by what seems to me to be logic fallacy after logic fallacy. At least with the NPR shows and hosts they tend to at least make some small attempts at bipartisan or even non-partisan reporting. Not too mention the fact that when they have guest interviews with people who identify as Republican or Libertarian or Tea Party or whatnot they don’t go off on some tangent or rant or ask obviously leading questions or whatnot. It seems far more “fair and balanced” than what I have heard from Fox News supported shows.
And then you have the benefit of the BBC news reports being aired at the same time as people in England get to hear it. I believe it starts somewhere around 8 or 9pm at night and goes through at least 2 or 3 am MDT, which is early morning for England. The stories that they report on are fascinating, as is the perspective that they give, primarily that it appears a news organization is capable of reporting with fairly low bias. I also get more world news via their broadcasts which makes me a happy camper since that was the entire point of this adventure.
The major downside though is my tendency to get flummoxed by the reporting that’s coming out of the national presidential/primary campaigns in the US. Both sides are irritating me, both sides are demonstrating just how out of touch they are with the general populace and the number of people in the general populace who actually agree with most of what is happening in Washington or at the local state level is starting to disgust me. It’s bad enough to have to listen to politicians try to dictate how I can live my life, but the number of people throwing their opinions as facts at me has also increased and I am just about done with it.
In the mean time though, I will continue listen and try to understand and engage in conversation because ignorance is not bliss and is not something which should be forgiven. Not today when it is so easy to make yourself informed of the goings on in the world and in the nation. I also don’t believe there would be many people willing to just go with what their neighbors or friends or pastors or politicians tell them about what is going on. Maybe, just maybe, we would be able to have real power to influence policies that actually reflect the changes in society rather than what society was like 10, 20, or even 50 years ago.
That may just be wishful thinking on my part though. In the meantime, I will continue to listen and think and discuss and work on very slowly encouraging others to do so themselves.