I stopped reading newspapers a long time ago, primarily because the headlines were, and still are, always the same as a decade ago, and the stories are mostly depressing in nature. Then, I stopped watching local and regional TV news channels, mainly because their prime time programs always had, and still have, a half dozen or so people screaming at each other, defending their own points of view against attacks by the other. And, when there’s only two debaters, then most often, the catty/sarcastic anchor butts in constantly, either taking the side of the one defending the channel’s preferred party, or else, voicing his/her personal opinions instead of being an impartial referee. Much too irritating, such pseudo-intellectual dramas.
However, I believe that real-life events are much more interesting than reel-life ones, so I need to watch the news. And, in this day and age, since what happens ten thousand miles away is as important as what happens next door, I have always enjoyed watching international news channels. During the America-Iraq War, one channel in particular hogged all the limelight and became pretty iconic. Its live broadcast of Bush’s infamous ‘Shock and Awe’ bombarding of Baghdad was the moment that this channel’s people on the ground (in their high-rise hotel, to be more precise) became as famous as, say, Michael Jackson or Mel Gibson.
They thenceforth became trusted purveyors of the truth of what was right and what was wrong with the world. However, fast forward to 2015, and they ceased becoming that. The reason was simple—their reporting became totally biased, and worse, they became a completely negative voice in the days leading to the U.S. Presidential race of 2016, denigrating one candidate night after night in some pretty despicable and blatantly obvious ways.
So, considering that there are actually very few international channels in the true sense of the word, it was a big loss for someone like me who likes to know what’s going on from reliable sources. In fact, seeing as to how other big media are also following their footsteps (it’s like the screaming matches you see on some regional TV news shows, in a more comprehensive way) I have now concluded that the news media as a whole is up to its neck in a seriously serious battle of credibility.
So, most evenings now, I would rather watch a long series of a story on drug cartels on Netflix, or an action movie on YouTube, than watch the news. Of course, habits die hard, and so sometimes the finger unconsciously moves to a news channel button, and there’s the ticker—multiple rape of minors in a children’s home in a neighboring country, high-ranking officials executed for corruption in another, some big shot priest de-robed for molesting kids in some church somewhere in a town out West, 40 killed in a bomb explosion in Afghanistan or Baghdad or Saana or Karachi, 3 shot dead in anti-government rally in Nicaragua or El Salvador or Colombia or Argentina, and so on and so on. You couldn’t ask for more mind numbing stuff!
And, what’s on the once-famous international news channel? The president insulted people of color by Tweeting this and that, the country will suffer because the president wants to become friendly with a once adversary country, the president won only due to a foreign adversary country’s help, the president is responsible for inciting people to violence, the president is destroying the credibility of the press, the president is an idiot, a bigot, a racist, and this and that, ad nauseam. So much is said and speculated on one man that I have begun to have doubts about it being an international news channel.
Well, there are other news channels, you might say. You are right, but let me tell you, in today’s environment, you’ll have a hard time deciphering what is fact and what is false. So sad that the word ‘trust’ doesn’t even figure in this equation.