Awkward Rubio Sips, Triumph’s Failure, Blade Runner’s VDay Murder & Handling the Sensational News Media

As mentioned in the previous post, we’re visiting family in Florida this week. Susan’s side is meeting Janelle for the first time and it’s been a while since seeing the boys. Speaking of whom, the boys are having a blast as my in-laws have an awesome two-story tree house with a trap-door, a sandbox, and tire swing. This summer is attaching a rock-wall to it – I’m not kidding. I’ve always loved living in the Northeast but I do miss seeing our kids playing outside again.

After spending a full day outside Wednesday, it rained all afternoon Thursday so I caught up on some cable news. You may know that I don’t take cable news too seriously as I think it’s mostly hype and advertising with sprinkles of truth. Still, I like to know what people are talking about. If you’re new to the blog, I consider Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death to be one of the most important books I’ve ever read – can’t recommend it enough.

So in case you were at work, out enjoying Valentines’, reading or doing something better than watching television, here’s what you missed:
Police did confirm that Christopher Dorner is dead.
People are making a big deal of people making a big deal of Marco Rubio’s awkward sip during his response to the President’s State of the Union address.
Carnival’s Triumph cruise ship has finally made it to Mobile, AL. Thank God no one died or was seriously injured. That said, hoping the 3000+ passengers are able to put this terrible vacation behind them and that we don’t have to hear about anymore.
and the story that really got me is this one:
Oscar Pistorius, the beloved South African Olympian known as the “Blade Runner,” was charged with the murder of his girlfriend.

With the exception of the Pistorius story, I found the news to be very sensationalized. It always is. We all know countless news stories that get drug out for more pubic consumption and that’s how 24 hour cable news works. This Pistorius story will undoubtedly follow the same pattern. Soon, there will be avalanche of coverage, commentary and interviews as the details emerge. I am not complaining that it’s not newsworthy – it is and as mentioned, I am genuinely saddened by this tragedy. My frustration is that with any event of massive coverage, we end up objectifying everyone involved. Gossip will likely be uncovered, sides will be created, there will some type of controversy and the families involved will go through an even more difficult time. May God be with them.

I turn on the news hoping to hear more about what’s going on in places like Egypt, Syria, Yemen and Iran. It’s not just because I am Egyptian but also because I am concerned for persecuted and hurting people here and there. I want to hear more about what’s going on in India. Every day there are new developments of the rape debate and we know this because of the various internet news outlets like the Wall Street Journal online. Come on CNN, keep up.  (Seriously don’t know what we do without the internet.  I know it’s suffers from similar flaws and biases but there is good in it too).  More so, I want Piers Morgan to talk less about gun control, an important issue but also talk about human trafficking, also an important issue. Frankly, I can’t believe people are talking about Rubio taking a sip of water, no matter how awkward he looked. This is this week’s version of Beyonce lip-syncing the National Anthem.

So I’ll admit this could be attached to my Gen-X angst and suspicion of all things (some of which is good & needed btw). When I watch the news, I don’t feel “that informed.” But what I feel even more is my guard being up. I know people feel this in all sorts of moments and places including their schools, their homes, even in their churches. Which brings up questions concerning truth, authority, corruption, subversiveness, the need for redemption.

I realize not everything can be covered. I realize that no one person can keep up with all the ongoings of the world. But I know this week is just like every other news week. The names have changed, the stories have changed but the pattern is the same. I’m supposed to be outraged, provoked and then hopefully, I’ll respond by purchasing something from the advertisers.

As is my habit, after everyone went to bed, I stayed up a little more, turned off the tv, and did some thinking and praying. I’ve also been rereading John Perkins’ With Justice For All as I hope to attend the Justice Conference in Philadelphia next week and he is among the speakers. I prayed that I would care less about the news media, that I would not allow sensationalism to bother me as much, and instead that I would care more for the hurting and injustice that we see.  Further, I prayed God would strengthen me and my community to act in a way that helps people and honors Him. Which is one of the few helpful parts of cable news: though they do a terrible job of “informing us” – they are helpful in showing us the hurting world.

Feel free to offer your thoughts on the news media, handling sensationalism and what your’e seeing in your corner of the world – thanks for reading.