The other night, I watched the local news. Now, the news has never been my first – or any – choice of programming, but I was still awake and thought to myself, “I guess I should find out what is being reported to our community.” After a few minutes of COVID and murder hornets, I looked over at my husband and said, “well no wonder people are so afraid. If I watched this regularly, I would be convinced I was going to die as soon as I walked out the door.”
Everywhere you turn, it seems that the top story is how you’re going to die, or infect someone else, if you don’t stay holed up in your home. And heaven forbid if you walk out of your house without wearing a mask. Death is all but certain, at least according to the media.
And it’s not just the mainstream media sources – TV, radio, newspaper (does anyone actually get a newspaper anymore?) and the online versions of each. It’s everywhere. Non-traditional internet news sites. Social media. It’s rather easy to post your opinion. And we seem to have lost the ability to separate fact from opinion or do our research to question what is being presented. And don’t get me started on all the “Karens” out there. (Apologies to all my friends and other lovely people named Karen. It’s unfortunate that they decided to use your name to describe a certain type of person on social media.)
I hate to admit, when this lockdown all started, I became a bit of a social media news junkie. My favorite was Twitter, although I found myself spending a lot more time on Facebook as well. I tried to share alternatives to the current narrative, to question what we had been told, to try to get to the truth. I was already afraid for all the businesses that were going to be in danger of failing and when the goalposts were moved, I became even more concerned. As I shared what I found, people came out of the woodwork to disagree, sometimes even trying to discredit the source rather than the content. I was getting angry, feeling attacked. And I knew something had to change. So, I implemented another plan: I decided to limit my consumption of media – all media – each day. I may still post things I find interesting during my “consumption window”, and if it helps someone great. And if someone wants to take issue with it, great. Because we’re all going to have an opinion. And my opinion is not “better” than yours. And vice versa.
Besides, I don’t know anyone who has “won” an argument on Facebook.
What are your thoughts on the matter?