But enough about me (and the fact that two weeks into my resolution to post daily I failed miserably) and on to the news, or rather, the excess thereof...
I process the news in the context of fear. I don't expect to read about chirping birds in Central Park or pillow fights between members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on the front page of CNN or the New York Times. Instead, I have come to expect death tolls and an update on how far Beyonce has come in her 25 years on this earth versus me. And I'm OK with that.
However, journalists seem to operate under a different construct. They neither compare themselves to Beyonce and they fear nothing.
Otherwise they wouldn't go around pouring itching powder into the conflicts that plague our little planet. And neither would the victims of these conflicts, as these people seem especially inclined to just shoot their mouths off at any microphone shoved in their faces.
In reading the news today, I was shocked and annoyed that the Times of London would publish an article listing the ingredients used in the terrorist attacks of 2005. Now, I know the media has done stupid stuff like that in the past, but in the midst of a war that is showing no signs of relenting, is it wise to inform the public, and the wackos in their midst, on how to assemble mini weapons of mass destruction? In an article titled "How high street ingredients 'could become weapons for mass murder'" reporter Sean O'Neill writes:
The ingredients of the July 21 bombs were acquired in the high street and required little more than a rudimentary knowledge of chemistry to make up. The shopping list of the alleged bombers included hydrogen peroxide — widely used in hairdressing — chapati flour, nail polish remover (acetone), sulphuric acid, batteries, torch bulbs, electrical wires, cardboard and half a dozen food storage tubs, Woolwich Crown Court was told yesterday.
Am I overreacting or is this too much information? Who cares what the ingredients used were? The problem isn't how available they are it's how many people know that a combination of certain household items can cause some major damage?
Reports from the war-zone are no better. No sooner are we processing the less than humane execution of Saddam Hussein (I'm against the death penalty but what else could you do with a monster like that? My issue is with the treatment of a man already sentenced to death by his executioners...verbal taunting, slapping...) and we're getting reports that his older brother's head snapped off during the execution.
Wha?? How is the world better off for knowing this bit of information?
Things are no better in Colombia, where the kidnapping of former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt still goes unsolved. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Colombia's interior minister said Monday that kidnapped former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt was in good health, reopening a national debate over freeing thousands being held captive by mostly leftist rebels. [...]
Betancourt's mother, however, said she feared the government was planning a military rescue of her daughter - a move that in the past has led leftist rebels to immediately kill hostages.
"What terrifies me is that the government may know where Ingrid is and will launch a rescue mission," Yolanda Pulecio said in an interview with The Associated Press.Umm, why is this woman's mother trying to sabotage any attempt by the government to rescue her daughter? Shouldn't her misgivings be addressed in private with the president of her country and the people who will execute any rescue operation? What the hell is the AP going to do about saving her daughter?
And finally, just when I was rejoicing over the much-deserved victory of one Miss Jennifer Hudson at the Golden Globes, I caught a commercial for the Today Show announcing an interview with the parents of one of the two kidnapped boys found in Missouri yesterday.
If recounting the horror of such an ordeal with friends and family won't be of help to me, and I feel like reaching out to a disinterested media personality, I'd try to call Beyonce and tell her all about how my son was kidnapped and holed up with some dude for five days. She won't care any more than Meredith Viera, but hey, she's Beyonce. But then, who would cover the story? BET? I'm not black...
So what am I getting at here?
The news is full of too much fluff and fear mongering and there are way too many people who think national television is an appropriate vehicle through which families can process trauma. Editors are becoming increasingly unethical and scandalous in what they peddle as news -- telling people how to create bombs is the equivalent of screaming fire (or, if you were Beyonce, Ring the Alarm) in a crowded movie theatre.