No news . . .

No news isn’t necessarily good news, but no news probably results in a better individual situation.

In the past couple months, I have spent more hours watching, reading, and listening to news than in the past two years combined.  This recent news consumption has been about 40% social, 35% informational, and 25% diversionary.  I am now more knowledgeable about the Iraq crisis, the Mexican border situation, Hillary Clinton’s non-campaign campaign, the 427th successive Israeli-Palestinian showdown, the concerns in Russia and Ukraine, the overblown Hobby Lobby/ACA deal, and even the never-say-die Benghazi issues than I would have been.  I am not so sure that any of this knowledge makes a difference, other than to make me more opinionated, hopeless and/or fearful, and possibly argumentative.  Basically, I’m pretty sure that I’m no better a person for having done this news thing.

If a reader were to have any interest in more detail — my musings on particular news outlets — s/he could see the long footnote¹ below.  I wanted to subordinate it to the main (shorter) text, here above the double-dotted line.

My strong suspicion continues to be that, no matter what one does or doesn’t do with regard to news is of no real consequence.  “Being informed” about current events, although I don’t mind it in principle, isn’t that big a deal to me.  No level of news intake will change the outcome of any of the stories, and it certainly won’t change the outcome of eternity.

However, I might just mention this. . . .

A man from my past, John Gaynor, had a gift with making announcements and offering a “call to worship,” often from the Psalms, as the assembly began.  He was upbeat in tone, and he seemed to be informed with the latest news of the world — earthquakes, wars, coups in governments.  Although I doubt I’ll ever be as informed as my memory says John was, I think he was doing a good thing:  bringing a significant news item to the gathered church every week or two, and praying to the Lord of All about that event.

==================

Super-Long Footnote

¹ Newsings (Musings? Noose-ings?)

I’ve heard Rachel Maddow and Chris what’s-his-name, and I’ve heard Rush and Sean.  One of these sounds like a cartoon character to me, two are fairly reasonable sounding, and the other appears about as ridiculous on the screen as a U.S. lawmaker who famously grinned while saying they should just pass the Affordable Care Act and then figure out what’s contained in it.  A couple of these ‘casters are far more on target than the other two, in my estimation, but they all have such obvious agendas that it’s hard to take them seriously.

FNC is anything but balanced, and one of its commentators seems more obnoxious each time I see him.  But FNC is far more often sensical, on target, fair, and mature (although often no more pleasant) than what I’ve seen from MSNBC.

The portions of national evening news broadcasts that I’ve seen recently seemed reasonably unbiased, but wait till some Republican or Tea Party person filibusters, or wait till some sincere soul protests gay rights or abortion.  Then the leftist hues will become visible, guaranteed.

A couple of days ago, I deleted the CNN app from my smartphone.  (Now my phone s a little dumber, I suppose.  Or maybe not.)  I looked for a better news app.  I’d once tried the Washington Post and the Fox News apps.  Both disappointed me in terms of functionality.  The Huffington Post immediately convinced me of its bias.  (I had been mistaken that it billed itself as middle-of-the-road.  See how uninformed one can be when one doesn’t regularly stay in touch with the news?)  Good grief — as though the country needed any more liberal bias in the news media.

I searched for unbiased news apps and found a well-written blog whose first paragraph impressed me.  Later in the same blog, this writer recommended Alternet as a good news source; however, a mere glance at its areas of focus shows it to be concerned with leftist causes.  It may not be as blatant as some MSNBC news, but it’s still slanted, by virtue of topics chosen.

I generally like the deeper stylings of NPR on the radio — particularly on “All Things Considered,” but if I happen carradioin to the Terry Gross’s Fresh Air programming and hear a pro-gay program one more time, I think I’ll yelp.  Unbiased?  Hardly.  There’s no need for any more of that kind of championing in this country anymore.  At least Fox News, which disingenuously claims to be more fair and balanced, is filling a void for the conservatives.  I think I need to check out the PBS NewsHour sometime.  I’ve only seen small bits here & there — maybe it’s a little less slanted than its radio counterpart.

Some might suggest that I try C-Span news for a bit.  I see they have the actual no-spin zone itself in a 3-hour ideo of a congressional committee session (see below) on the unaccompanied immigrant children issue (not that I’ll actually listen to all of it!). . . .  I might also read the Christian Science Monitor (whose originating movement is hardly Christian or scientific, but that’s beside the point if it reports news decently and in order).  Maybe the Wall Street Journal, with its presumably fact-oriented, bottom-line approach, will be palatable — although I’m loathe to join myself to anything connected, even nominally, to the greed of stockholders and corporations.

newspaperA few weeks ago, I heard an experienced news correspondent being quizzed about his own news digestion habits.  He commented that he hasn’t watched major network news for 20 years, feeling that it is “soft news” and that he gets everything he wants and needs by reading the likes of the Washington Post, whose op-ed writing he believes is the best available.

Journalism was once at least partly a highly thought of, even honorable — enterprise.  These days, not so much.  No offense meant to the best, most principled journalists such as several who made their names in decades gone by:  Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley & Chet Huntley, John Chancellor, and the like.  

The scenario these days is that the ideological agenda, not the reporting of facts, rules most news outlets.

 Ho-hum.

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3 thoughts on “No news . . .

  1. godschildrenorg 07/29/2014 / 5:26 pm

    I gave up on watching what is laughingly called “News” years ago…too much biased info, often incorrect info, too much violence…and as you said, knowing all that drama and horror is going to prepare me for what? Maybe a nervous breakdown? I’m not an ostrich or uncaring. But I need my energy to serve others in the name of the Lord.

    It is not my job to worry and wring my hands, or get angry and blast people who disagree with me. You see…that is what I witness too much of the time when I’m back in the States – a lot of people worrying about what may happen angrily discussing…or arguing. HOW is that in line with “in nothing be anxious…” Phil. 4:6. And, what kind of testimony is our behavior giving to those who need the Lord?

    Or what about this…Romans 13:1,2 – “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.…” Food for thought! Does anyone stop to ponder why God allows those into positions of authority whom we don’t like? There’s a message there.

    Maybe I”m wrong, but it seems to me that a lot of bellyaching about our government is mighty close to resisting authority. OK, I’ll just say it – I am sick and tired of my short times in the U.S. being filled with people complaining about how bad the gov. is, how bad their life is because of the gov., how bad everything is because of the government (they have enough to eat, clothes to wear, a good roof over the heads, AND freedom of speech). BTW, not happy in the U.S., come spend 90 days in East Europe. It’s an eye opener.) It is refreshing to be with intentional followers of Christ who talk about the blessings in Christ, who are thankful for what they have, who encourage others, who reach out to help those less fortunate than they are bringing Light into the lives of all with whom they come in contact. Now, maybe I’ve gotten that “off my chest.” I hope that’s the last time I mention it. ~~ Anne in Transylvania

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    • Brian Casey 07/31/2014 / 1:18 pm

      Thank you for all these thoughts. There is too much here for me to pretend to respond well.

      My granddaddy once re-appropriated a situation to illustrate how he felt about Christians getting involved in, and wrangling over, political affairs. He said, with no ill will or ire, but with all holy counsel, “And these Christians fiddle while Rome burns.” In most cases, I imagine the motives of the news-hungry and politically motivated to be no worse than neutral, and often, good. But I am with you in thinking they are expending precious energies on the wrong things.

      I’ve done my share of worrying and being anxious. I’m honestly fearful of what happens in the extreme Muslim subcultures. I detest what I take as the utter futility of governmental processes I’m aware of, and I have no clue how anyone thinks any of it makes much real difference. Things just continue to happen globally, and not all of it has grand purpose. What we do with the events probably matters more than the events themselves, if that makes any sense.

      Those who believe in the Eternal One have something better to look forward to, while trying to be aware of various blessings of this life.

      On Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 5:26 PM, NT Christianity wrote:

      >

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    • godschildrenorg 07/31/2014 / 6:38 pm

      I sense what you are saying, feeling, thinking. You sum up with the most important point – “What we do with the events probably matters more than the events themselves, if that makes any sense.” Yes, that is “our job,” Brian…to glorify God by what we do with the events. Joseph, Moses,Job, Jesus, to name a few…are our examples of how to deal with the crazy events in our world. In spite of all the sorrow, terror, abuse they suffered, they glorified God by the way they dealt with the events. Even Jesus cried out,”Papa, Papa! Why have you abandoned me!” But they all glorified God in the end. There’s much room for discussion about that, but it’s time to close. God bless! ~~ Anne in Transylvania

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