My 17 days of face-down recuperation from an eye injury ended yesterday. Vision is gradually returning and it’s now OK to resume normal activities. Just in time; I was becoming addicted to daytime TV. A webcam projecting the television image onto a flatscreen monitor on the floor handled the mechanics and nights and weekends had plenty of hockey and football, but days presented a challenge. Despite six dozen cable channels, there wasn’t much of interest to me, so I was repeatedly drawn into the 24 hour news cycle.
The few times I’ve watched Fox News, it has seemed like a parody of the Daily Show doing a parody of Fox News, so that wasn’t for me. Unless there’s a major disaster or breaking crisis someplace in the world, CNN just drones through a loop of the same disconnected stories all day long. That left MSNBC, a choice that may have been aided by the concurrent surge of Newt Gingrich at the expense of Mitt Romney, a development I found both fascinating and hilarious.
Even though I was ideologically aligned with what I was watching, I found it all pretty mind-numbing. These “news” channels, whether they break liberal or conservative, follow the same recipe: latch onto a couple of items and then serve them up over and over again, with different hosts and different guests so it seems like it’s something different, but always with the same spin. By the time the day is done, the viewer has internalized the message and carries it forward.
I am now of the opinion that this 24/7 flow of ideological brain washing more than anything else is responsible for the chasm that separates politically active Americans today. The most active and interested people spend the most time watching their own favored network and walk away with their beliefs reinforced and gravitate to like believers since those who think otherwise seem to inhabit an alternate universe.
So is there a way to synchronize our diverse ideologies? I doubt it. My point here is quite limited. Political TV is addictive and mind altering, so just say no.