24 hours of relentless repetition
Apr 23, 2013 | 5147 views | 0 0 comments | 834 834 recommendations | email to a friend | print
My wife had the best idea last Monday, after the bombs went off. She said to me, “Alan, can we turn off the news?”

It was a great idea, and I immediately found the dumbest thing we could possibly watch. There was nothing new in the news about the “New Boston Massacre.”

National news media was regurgitating the same old information over and over again. At best, they found a new pundit to say the same thing. At worst, it was just a tape loop of watching the explosions over and over again.

The 24-hour news source seems to get tunnel vision. If it is a national disaster, we hear about it for a week or longer, until something else horrible happens. If it is a “slow news week,” then you get coverage and commentary about a sensational trial.

If it is really slow, then you might get an NBA star saying something dumb, or maybe a celebrity who got drunk or forgot her underwear.

The North Korean situation probably has not been resolved, but I wouldn’t know. All I hear about from any news service is the bombing.

Are we still at war and suffering casualties in Afghanistan? I have no idea.

What’s being done about gun control legislation? Do not bother to watch television to find out.

I’m saying this not to trivialize the Boston bombing. At least three people are dead, and nearly 200 were wounded. Some of them, grievously. This is the worst terror attack on U.S. soil since 911.

Whether it’s three dead or nearly 3,000 terrorism by its definition terrifies. If I planned to attend a hockey game this week instead of three weeks ago, I would be a little more nervous and alert to things like stray packages. We are all affected. The woman I regard as my sister lives near Boston, and I sent her a message to make sure she was safe. Thankfully, she is fine.

What we don’t need is an endless cycle of looped bombing photography.

Do we need it from different angles? I don’t. Seeing it once is enough.

Then we have pundits and experts. These people come out and speculate in front of cameras. They are in no way, connected to the investigation. Gone are the days where journalists interviewed people connected to the story to provide fact.

In the race to be first, many outlets get their facts wrong. Unofficial sources are quoted without citation. I saw several sources report that a Saudi Arabian man was “a person of interest” and “under heavy guard” at a Boston hospital. Passing that on as a fact will only fuel anti-Muslim sentiments in the U.S.

In the Sandy Hook shooting, the suspect’s brother was incorrectly identified as the shooter. Twenty years ago, a reporter would be fired for these types of errors. Now we get a, “Further information indicates there is not a suspect,” or a very brief, “Oops.”

I’m not asking for people to stay ignorant. Quite to the contrary. I want everyone to stay informed.

How do you do it without TV or the relentless and erroneous bombardment of the Internet? How do you make sure you get the most factual and vetted information, without overloading?

Read a newspaper.

The Marshall County-Tribune-Courier will always be your best source for Marshall County news. Augment it with a nationally-recognized daily newspaper with a reputation for accuracy and without bias.

The great thing about a newspaper is you can read all the news you want. Then, you can fold it up and put it down when done. Your senses will not be overwhelmed when exposed to the same explosion 100 times per hour.

The story next to the tragedy could be about something else. Turn to Page 2, and you’ll find a brand new topic for a story.

First isn’t always the best, but the vetted, reliable and researched stories of a newspaper is a better choice for me.
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