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.
2 Responses to Daytime TV
This reminds me of the BC lecture about “personalization” of our Internet experiences, and how it occludes whole points of view and important information that we should, and otherwise would, be receiving. It certainly does leave less room for open dialogue and compromise. It creates the bad habit of listening to simply one side of the “story.”
Glad to hear the vision is returning normally.
Although it was said in another context, this is another example of the application of the statement that “all politics is local.” If we consider every national issue through the lens of how it will effect the people who live next to us and who we pass on the street each day, we will make more informed decisions on what to support and what to oppose. Political TV, whether it be Fox or MSNBC, is nothing but another form of reality TV and like all other reality TV shows, the content is about as far from the reality of our everyday lives as we could imagine. As for the internet and computers, when used effectively on the local level, they are an invaluable tool for organizing and engagement so long as it translates to real people engaging on the ground.