Maybe it's just me but lately it's all I can do to avoid the news. Where I was once a self-admitted news junkie, I now find myself hiding from the reality of the day behind reruns of Will & Grace and Frasier. While they are shows that stand on their own merits, they are now my escape from what has become a daily deluge of bad news, dire circumstances and fatalistic pundits. I'm starting to think that our media is depressing us into a further depression.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not some sheltered Pollyanna. I know things truly are bad. Trust me. I am a real-life casualty of the economic downturn: laid off and uninsured. I am a statistic. It doesn't get more real than that. Yet, even I think that we've gone off the bad-news deep end.
Watching President Obama's Congressional Address the other week, I felt that hope that he sold us on during the election. I loved hearing about what he's going to do and where he's going to take us. More than that, I was moved by hearing about the owner of a bank that gave his bonus to his current and former employees, about the young girl that demands a better education from her government and about the town that came together to rebuild after a natural disaster. It was a welcome departure from the last eight years of fear mongering. Why hadn't the news covered any of this? Maybe they were just getting to it?
I turned on the news the next morning anticipating some interesting coverage that was ushered in with this new administration but was met with the same cynical feuding pundits that have been assaulting us for years. So concerned with representing their "side" and feeding us pithy little sound bites are they that I'm not sure they actually even know what they think.
Aren't these the same people that traumatized us with the news that we'd never never see gas prices drop below $4 again in our lifetimes? Aren't they the ones that told us another terrorist attack on our soil was imminent shortly after 9/11? Who of us isn't still a bit scarred by the bird flu epidemic that was going to sweep across this nation and wipe us out? Enough already.
I don't know about you but I'm exhausted from all the teeth-clenching and anxious nights worrying about the end of the world. We voted in change. Shouldn't we settle for nothing less than change... everywhere? The President says we all have a part in progress. I think that should include our media.
Yes, today the failures are outweighing the accomplishments but there are accomplishments. Why must we bury them in the back of newspapers? I guess lauding the good doesn't pay as well as panning the bad. But all this negativity has got me wondering, "Why should I invest money, time or energy in helping to stimulate the economy when I keep being told it's hopeless." Makes me feel helpless... Now, that's depressing.