10.14.2009

Re: The American media

Dear struggling Sirs and Madams:

I know you are choking under the pressure of this Information Age and that many of your counterparts are dying off in droves. You are weary. Burdened. Scared.

And I realize that you are in a tough spot. You must prove yourselves worthy or suffer obliteration. And as each day ticks by, you are surely realizing that no one is really above this media crisis and that sure, it started with small town, no-name newspaper martyrs but now, Big Media Giant(s), even you are at risk.

I get it. You are just trying to stay afloat. Gain a foothold. Keep from drowning. Survive.

So, you are inundating us with information. And big news splashes. And "we've-got-it-firsts." And it is oh-so-easy to get sucked into your pomp and circumstance.

But the thing is--and I really don't mean any disrespect here--but mostly, you aren't really saying anything anymore.

You just distract me with Jon and Kate. Or David Letterman. Or what kind of beer Obama drank with that professor who was arrested when entering his own home.

And I guess I'm supposed to walk away thinking Wow, I am so informed.
And you know what? Sometimes I do.

But the thing is, I really want to engage. To connect. To feel someone else's reality instead of lackadaisically skimming headlines and largely skipping over what really matters.

Because I do that, too, you know. In a strange twist of irony, I tend to ignore the blurbs of truth you print (Afghanistan...skip...Iran...skip...North Korea...skip, skip) because I guess by now I'm just growing a bit weary and burdened and afraid myself.

Weary of too many messages hitting me over the head all the time all clamoring for my attention.

Burdened with the task of weeding through the muck for something worth knowing. Then wondering if even it too is a cover-up or a sham or a media plant in order to distract me from some other larger truth.

Afraid that soon I'll give up in defeat and settle for happy naivete--because who wants to be one of those depressed cynics? Not this girl.

Now, hear me when I say that I take some responsibility for this situation. I recognize there will always be some excuse that makes it easier to just close my ears and drift along in my little comfortable bubble. And that it really is up to me to make the commitment to know the world around me. And further, that I perpetuate your existence by consuming your hype.

However,
I also studied journalism. And I would at least like to believe that you--yes, even you--at one time also believed in the power of the written word. And the ability that you have to really change the world.

And I guess I would also just like to remind you that at one time, you existed as the public watch dog. That annoying, nagging, necessary, voice for the people.

Because we need you. We need a source we can trust to blow the whistle, to ask the tough questions, to make people wiggle in their chair or globally celebrate justice or maybe even move us to tears.

And not to sell more papers or generate more ad revenue or up your number of online subscribers.

But simply to bring the world to our doorstep.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, we are now blowing the whistle on you.

Please listen.

Sincerely,

A very dissatisfied--yet hopeful--consumer

4 comments:

lauren said...

"Afraid that soon I'll give up in defeat and settle for happy naivete" -- so right. It's amazing that we can be so removed as to have to fight to care (and fight even harder to believe in change). Thanks for writing this. It's a call to action I certainly need.

Kovacs said...

I loved that post. Best in years, haha. Couldn't have said it better myself, because I feel that way whenever I tune into anything besides local news.

Rebecca said...

You are wise beyond your years dearest Sara. I may even repost in my own blog given your permission, giving credit where credit is due of course.

Happy naivete...how often do I scroll to the bottom of the MSN homepage for my daily reads instead of searching...better yet, demanding something more meaningful? Thank goodness the walls in this office can't talk...

Sara said...

Post away, my friend...just don't send T. Simon after me (or RonJon should there be any glaring errors. haha). :)