It seems like every time you turn on the news, all you see is the world on fire. Politicians would rather fight amongst themselves than propose any kind of solutions to issues like gun violence, climate change, economic disparities, racism, etc. However, as a journalism major, I have noticed a very shocking trend among people.
No one watches the news, and no one wants to talk about what is going on.
There have been several times when people have told me outright that they do not watch the news anymore because it is all upsetting. This is not just college students telling me this, but neighbors and family members have told me the same thing. For most this would seem harmless, and maybe some of you will even find this to be understandable. However, even putting my major aside, this is incredibly irresponsible and dangerous.
I am not going to deny that it can be a lot on any person to have what seems like an endless stream of news that gets worse with each passing day. Take it from someone who has to report on it for a career, but we cannot avoid them all together because things are not going to get better by ignoring it. We need to be informed, we need to be up to date and we have to know what needs to be changed so we can fight to make that change.
Take for example, gun violence. Following the tragedy in Tennessee, I had officially reached my breaking point when it came to any kind of softness on the discussion of common-sense gun laws. It was because of the news coverage, seeing this on a near weekly basis and being able to see how the politicians were responding to these events was the eye-opening moment for me. Now, I want to do more and fight more and speak more for those who have died because of inaction.
In January, my fellow opinion editor, Monika B. Lewis, wrote a terrific piece discussing “white fragility” and how white people are uncomfortable discussing race. Part of the reason why this might be the case is that they cut themselves off from what is going on in the world. Racism has always been and still is a problem in this country. As hard as it is to see the images of tragic police-involved killings of Tyre Nichols, George Floyd and countless others, those images should be clear evidence that there is a problem.
There is no denying it. Yet, whenever you discuss with a group of people about either of these topics, you get shrugs, nervous looks and a genuine desire to change the subject. We cannot keep changing the subject. When researching this topic, I wanted to find what the logic was behind not watching the news and not partaking in the discussion of heavier topics. One that I found was on a website called medium.com, and was published by Moreno Zugaro.
Zugaro prides himself on teaching people self-improvement, and in particular teaching males to be “The Authentic Man.” He told his nearly 10,000 followers that he has not watched the news in six years. As he said after one year of his experiment: “Whenever I heard about one of the prophecies of doom broadcasted to the country, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Not because I’m evil and enjoy suffering, but because I began to see the bigger picture. When you realize most of the drama is nothing but smoke and mirrors, you don’t take it seriously anymore.”
Smoke and mirrors, fake news, propaganda — those are the buzzwords that many will throw out as their reasoning to disregard journalism. Former President Donald Trump certainly popularized the villainizing of journalists and the media in general. However, the biggest culprit is the internet.
Despite having the whole of human knowledge in your pocket, for some reason people still refuse to do the bare minimum of fact-checking. Due to the growing distrust of media outlets and the refusal to accept information they do not like, people will turn to new sources that fit their agenda.
Trump has TruthSocial.com, NewsMax, AON, Daily Wire, Twitter, Facebook and more. So many people nowadays have decided that anything coming from the mainstream media is completely false and would rather blindly follow anything as long as it makes them feel more secure.
The truth of the matter is we are not secure, and we need to accept our insecurities and work through them rather than denying they exist at all.
Journalism will always have those who make mistakes and shake the integrity of their outlets, but the point of the matter is that where we are in history right now, we can no longer sit quietly and wait for everything to blow over. We have to do more, we have to be up to date and we have to be able to listen and handle things when times get tough. Without doing any of this, we are complacent to our own destruction.