Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Shut it Down

by Holly West

I recently tweeted this:
Some people call this censorship. I say it's simply a business decision the company made, likely for a number of reasons. The official story is that cable news isn't part of a healthy lifestyle. I can personally tell you that I'm a whole lot happier now that I don't have to see the president's mug plastered on all of the giant TV monitors anymore.

Is cable news unhealthy? I certainly think it is, and though I detest it more since January 20, 2017, I came to the conclusion long before that. Or maybe unhealthy is the wrong word. Maybe unproductive is a better one? Or maybe even destructive?

Whatever. I applaud Life Time Fitness for its decision.

You've seen me whine occasionally about political posts. A lot of that was because of the blatantly offensive and untrue memes that circulated during Obama's administration. We also saw the rise of social media during that time, and if Facebook taught me anything, it was that I had a lot of family members and some friends who held, shall we say, wildly different views than I did.

It wasn't the different views I objected to so much, it was the barely disguised racism.

Things are worse now, but I'm admittedly less bothered by offensive memes about our current prez, even if I don't forward them myself. I am, however, still troubled by the proliferation of untrue memes, statements taken out of context, exaggerated narratives that take on a life of their own. I'm not speaking to any one incident, I'm saying this in general. And if things are worse, much of it is because we're treated to the unfiltered thoughts and words of the prez himself every day. Hard to argue something's been taken out of context when he's put it out there for all of us to see.

This, finally, is what I want to talk about today. I'm as outraged as anybody else about the behaviors and policies of the current administration, but I find myself talking about it less and less, especially on social media. Why? Because I can't get beyond the idea that expressing my outrage is actually giving this person and his lackeys what they want. Attention. Doesn't matter if it's good or bad. The media's been criticized and even blamed for the debacle we've now got in the White House but if I participate in that conversation, repeating and retweeting and sharing posts by and about him/them in the process, aren't I becoming part of that media? Aren't I, then, part of the problem?

There's no doubt each of us has a responsibility to speak out against corruption, to voice our anger and dismay and, yes, fear, when we see our personal and collective values shat upon at every turn. Boycotts and peaceful protest are also important tools, as is positive reinforcement when, say, a company like Life Time Fitness takes an action (however small) we believe in.

I'm just wondering if we're all out there shouting so loud we can't hear anything above the noise.


Kevin R. Tipple said...

I don't think "cable news" as a whole is a bad thing. that channel that bills itself as cable news and is actually a right wing propaganda channel is a far different thing. Unfortunately, it seemed like everywhere we went during my wife's cancer treatments somebody always had that garbage on.

As to commenting on social media---I rarely say anything now as trying to piint out the ignorant and inaccurate memes from both sides with actual facts is an exercise in futility. Many folks don't want facts to interfere with their version of reality. Others deliberately want to misunderstand.

All I can hope is that November 2018 will bring the start of a swing back to a better situation for all.

Holly West said...

You and me both, Kevin.

I stopped getting my news from any of the cable channels around the time DJT announced his candidacy, when it became clear he was going to be front and center nearly 24 hours a day. Obviously, that hasn't improved much. Relating to my gym time, his face was on the screen of multiple television screens hanging in the main gym ALL THE TIME. Didn't matter what network. Escaping him was impossible.

It's important to stay informed, but the 24-hour news cycle demands networks to create content where sometimes, none exists. It requires constant updating which ends up being repetition when there's no update to be had. So that's what I mean when cable news is (or might be) a bad thing. Or an unhealthy thing. At least for me.