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Does The News Serve a Purpose in Our Society?

I find them all as abhorrent as the next guy, but I’ll still watch the story. When I do see these kinds of incidents on the news, I just feel empathy for the people involved, especially the children, who live in those neighborhoods. Often, but not always, they take place in the inner-city. Nobody really wants to see these kinds of stories, and most people even wish the news channels wouldn’t even report them as often as they do, but it still is news. I suppose that we could be lulled into a false sense of security if local channels did not broadcast these kinds of stories to the point that we think that they just don’t happen frequently, but the truth is that they do. And when they happen in our own neighborhood, city, or town, the local news channels will report them because their job is to report the news, both good and bad, to make people aware of what’s happening in their own local area.

Would anyone of us feel any safer if we just didn’t know what was going on in our local area? That would certainly be a reversal of the old saying that ‘what you don’t know, can’t hurt you’; well, in this case, it certainly could come back and hurt you or a family member if you’re unaware of a local problem.

The point I’m getting to, though, is more along the lines of the need for an active and vibrant television and print news media which both inform us and report these valid news stories to us. It is absolutely imperative to have an informed public in a democratic society such as ours. We really need to keep the river of information flowing, even when we don’t like what we see and hear and read in print.

The discerning viewer needs to be able to differentiate between what is fact and what is opinion. They sometimes will confuse the two. In politically oriented talk shows, for example, the host will always tell his audience exactly what he knows they want to hear.

There are a number of political opinion shows on the air lately that cater to either the right or the left, depending on their agenda, and the most fervent supporters on each side are convinced that they are always ‘correct’.

This situation is creating a growing polarization in this country which is likley to get worse before it improves. You will either be labeled as being on the left or the right, liberal or conservative, and either a blue or a red state. How polarizing is this when the the news agencies and political parties insist on putting us all in one of these groups, or the other? There doesn’t seem to be any other option. And, there should be.

The whole matter of increased polarization in this country can eventually be devastating to us as a society if we don’t get it under control fairly soon. It has become much more evident over the past few months with the town hall meetings in which local congressmen and senators met with their constituents, often angry and upset, to discuss the health-care reform bill. There were charges and counter-charges from both sides, with each side claiming the other side was telling lies. The dialogue even reached a low point when a representative from South Carolina even called the president a ‘liar’ on the floor of a joint session of congress.

We should be glad that we live in a society in which we all share in these freedoms that we too often take for granted, but at the same time we should learn not to abuse them, either.

The nation deserves better than this, and so do we.

About Author
One thing I really enjoy watching on television is the local, regional, and national news in local channels as well as channels like CNN found on Dish-Network.

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