Do you ever wonder why you get the news that you do? Why some stories are reported and others not. Why some stories catch fire and others don’t? Or, why some things are stories at all? I do. I think about shit like that all of the time. I have been thinking about this particular topic since I saw Maria Shriver on the Oprah show a million years ago. She was being asked (for the millionth time, probably) why she didn’t go into politics. She described how she helped on her Uncle Teddy’s campaign and spent a lot of time learning everything she could. The biggest thing she learned (my words, not hers) was that it is not the politicians with the power. The real power, she said, was in the reporter and journalists’ hands. It was the news media who decided what you heard. They are the ones who decide what a story is. They are the ones who decide what and how to cover a story. They are the ones who determine what sound bites, quotes, and excerpts from speeches you hear.
Think about that for a minute. A member of what is arguably the most political family in our country has announced that politicians aren’t #1 in terms of power. Our president can give interviews all day long and he does not determine what makes the evening news or headlines. The media does. My investigation, if you want to call it that, started in earnest when I thought my phone was spying on me. Which we now know is true. With the news it was more subtle. A few months ago (when I started writing this blog) guns in the classroom was the talk of the town.
This is the 2nd similar story that has popped up in my news feed. I thought the same thing I thought when I read the first one. -”of course I am going to see this, some idiot said we should have guns in the classroom. Some other idiots needed to demonstrate why this idea is idiotic.”
This happens more often than is coincidental. It happens with all kinds of stories. Deciphering the news is difficult when you have no idea who or what to believe. This isn’t new or news, but, it sure gets me thinking.
I notice, for example, how both sides of the coin are flipped on controversial headlines. I wonder who is paying whom, who leaked the story to the press, whom the reporter knows, and just how people are connected in the story. I don’t want to know, really. But, it sure makes me doubt what I hear. And, it makes me doubt the dumb things other people report to me as “fact.”
Sometimes after a particularly emotional or touching story, my mind will wonder…what ever happened to…? And then a new story comes along and we are all diverted – like a tennis match. First we look this way, then that way.
Am I late to the party again? Or did I just not peel back all of the layers? Or worse yet – have I become my parents and their parents before them? Am I a crazy conspiracy theorist who trusts no one? Getting older sucks sometimes….