There is something that has bothered me for a while about some of the leading T.V. news channels of the world. And, I guess it’s not getting any better
I am talking about the time, energy, intensity, and viewership that is dedicated to news that is primarily negative. I include the following in a broad “negative” category: War, Terrorism, Fundamentalism, Violence, Death, Scandals, Natural disasters, Epidemics, Recession etc
Granted our world has changed drastically for the worse over last 10 -15 years due to many events natural or otherwise, primarily 9/11, but I nevertheless believe there is scope for more positivity.
Fox news (which watched in U.S, and do not follow now), & C.N.N (which made a name in the 80s gulf war and has since made more money out of war and human suffering than most other channels) are the biggest culprits. Even BBC, which I have always had tremendous respect for, seems to have a lot of “negative vibes in the air”. The Indian media is a joke that deserves separate discussion and I would leave that out for now.
Considering U.S has been perennially in a war like situation across the world for ages, I would have thought most Americans would have given up tracking the “wars on terror” in minute detail. But, a few months in Texas convinced me otherwise. An unforgettable experience to me was how people were constantly tuned in to war news, even at the gym in our community. I mean, I would prefer some music , sports or nothing at all I am working out, and while each one has its preferences, the fact that all of the locals wanted to watch the war news, at all times did surprise me! I don’t see the wars on terrors ever ending in our life time, and if that’s all the news you follow for your life, how depressing is that?
War in Afghanistan, detailed analysis on WMDs and biological weapons that never existed, war in Iraq, Iran and Korea’s nuke plans, terror alerts and terror level watches, Guantanamo Bay, Saddam Hussein, Al Qaeda, Taliban, Islamic fundamentalism: These pretty much cover 95% of all the news I have seen in most western channels. The other 5% is for discussing how many times Tiger Woods said sorry in his speech to the media. Okay, I am exaggerating a bit, but you get the point
When the recession was in full swing, there were huge debates on why the recession happened. Everybody became an expert in hindsight, but nobody could tell the Wall Street banks to be careful a few years back. And now that we are slowly heading out of a recession, there is very little time dedicated to discussing positive steps to recover economy. I mean relatively speaking. It surprises me that most people in the west would rather watch news on what Iran or Iraq is up to, and the latest position of a Taliban leader hunted by U.S, rather than discuss more actively on how to keep the economy sustainable and growing strong.
I do stumble upon some good programs once in a while that may be hard hitting or pleasant, but have an inherently positive message. Typically, I find them in BBC, but the BBC also has too many programs dedicated to Islamic terror. Most of these programs appear self righteous in nature. One story was on how young U.K Muslims become hardliners. Point taken, but what about the hard line, far right British party?
While the fact the news channels themselves make money out of any “negative” news is an accepted reality, what surprises me is why people would spend their time to watch them. Thinking day in and day out that the world is becoming sick and murderous is not going to make our lives any better.
As a little kid, news papers, T.V. news and magazines were my window to understanding the world. I would run to the library to the Encyclopedia to understand new terms, places, people I read / heard about, to know more. And I had a good balance of “negative” and “positive” things to read up. For every article I read about the Gulf war, and Babri Masjid, I read one for Globalization, Economic liberalization, scientific progress etc. To a little kid growing up today, the internet has replaced the encyclopedia, and all the things he / she could learn about the world, is centered around terror, wars on terror, fundamentalism, and disaster.
The world is actually a far better place than what the news men tell us!