Like many of you, I spend time online. Also, like many of you, I am more than aware of the news events since being online generally places on in the centre of the media storms about whatever event is happening. And happen they do!
We are immersed in the 24 hour news cycle. We can learn within minutes (sometimes seconds) about some horror taking place almost anywhere in the world. One gets the impression that just around about every corner is a terrorist, riot, bomb blast, shooting, crime plot, corrupt politician or CEO…the list goes on. It’s bloody awful! (pun intended). Then I came across this cartoon.
It speaks to a conflict many of us have about know what is happening in the world and the effect this knowledge has on the psyche. It skews our view of things to the decidedly negative and you could reasonably say the level of danger out there is higher than ever. This breeds mistrust, fear, anger, xenophobia, and the ever present hatred for anything and anyone who does not side with (fill in the blank).
I wrote about respecting your mind with regard to what is habitually fed into it. Read it here for a refresher. I was reminded of it the other day as I watched the news (I know, I know…). A woman was commenting on the latest horror and remarking on her personal fatigue. “I had to turn off social media because it’s all just too much.” was her summary.
Regular mainstream media, the definition of which is getting murkier, has to compete with so called citizen reporters since now everyone can broadcast a news event via their smartphone. So the big media outlets have to scramble to be the first one with the footage that just appeared on Facebook, Twitter etc. In some cases, they pounce too quickly and graphic imagery gets released. Sometimes they feel “oh well, this is out there anyway so we are only adding our voice.” The nastier the story, the more eyeballs on that media. This increases the value of their advertising space and since that is their bread and butter, they get caught up in the race to be first with the horrors.
All this leads to the glut of imagery and stories that are “newsworthy”. And they aren’t stories about helping a blind man cross the street. You already know what the stories are.
So I am trying to keep this in mind as I watch news and social media stories. Is this constant viewing leaving me with a dark, mistrustful view of people and the world? Am I being drawn to graphic imagery regardless of the story behind it? Most importantly, is feeding my mind this information an act of being informed while challenging my sanity??!!