Too Much ‘Reality’ News

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We need to demand reality in the news, not ‘reality news’. 

Reality news, not what news is supposed to be reporting on, “reality”, but “Road Rules” reality has plagued the news the past years. Gone are the days where “Judge Joe Matthews” and “People’s Court” are confined to your local channel’s 2pm lineup, you can now find these shows on the most respected national news channels. The three big national news outlets, MSNBC, FOX and CNN have essentially done a “cut and paste” of the HLN network with their “Court Reality”. This article while written on the Cusp of the Zimmerman verdict, whose case regrettably is nearly impossible to ignore if you have a television, was not birthed in the recent months.

Consider the Jackson (Dr. Murray) , Casey Anthony, Amanda Knox, and the Jodi Arias trials (and soon to be, the guy from South Africa) – each have captivated audiences in the US over the past years. Ratings suggest that news channels are struggling with maintaining viewership and sensational news (HLN) have garnished bumps in ratings as a result.

What has happened? I am compelled to pause and reflect back on the ‘news’ we are used to seeing. What gathers attention are the ‘big bangs’. Reaching back to the 9/11 tragedy, I can see even in myself the gravitation towards single subject, sensational news. The war in Afghanistan, the live bombing feeds in Iraq – that is exciting news.  If traditional news cannot generate such sensation, HLN or the ‘Family Guy’ will prevail among viewers.

But who cares? I do. National news is supposed to give people updates as far as what is going on in the national and around the world. But it fails miserably, where are the updates as to what is going on in the middle east? The PR problem the US faces in Europe, the Job market, and the goings on in Capital Hill. News should be boring,  hopefully, in the sense that not much sensational is happening. Sensation = War, Conflict, Hate, Violence, and Racial Divides. Boring = Peace, Togetherness, and Normalcy.

So why do we care about the Zimmerman case, or Casey Anthony? The answer is we’ve been trained to. We should care, but only as much as we care about any of the other hundreds of cases that are as bad that get almost no attention. Should the case gather more of our attention than the thousands who die as a result of sectarianism and religious intolerance? Should Jodi Arias get more spotlight than Snowden and ‘Datagate’? The answer is most surely no.   

We need to demand reality in the news, not ‘reality news’.

 

 

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