The news opera

ScareguyIf you spend much time watching — and being scared by — the news, it’s essential to your sanity that you understand something.

The news is not sacred. The news isn’t even real. If you depend on the news to give you a heightened-consciousness view of the world, forget it. News is primarily show business. Its aim is economic — to deliver an audience to sponsors.

Many people have realized that news, as defined by what the new covers, is mostly bad. Shit at 11. World Shit Tonight. Nightly Shit. 6 O’clock Shit.

“Good evening. In the top of today’s shit pile, …”

And that’s because we as a society have allowed news to be defined as bad stuff. We are just as complicit in this system as are the providers. They deal us the drugs and we continue to buy them.

NEWS OPERA

Maybe at one time the news was more objective, but these days, that premise gets mighty iffy. Now it is soap opera designed to deliver viewers to advertisers with techniques derived from drama.

The moment a news broadcast begins, professional attention-getters leap into action attempting to hook you, the viewer, into hanging on and staying around. They do this with teasers, which now is a combination of video clips and pithy headline remarks. All that is packaged in glitzy computer graphics to make the whole thing look like a big, fun-to-play video game.

Prove me wrong. The focus is on negative drama — the festering conflict.

The retort from the news pros is always, “We don’t make up the news. We just report it.”

Many of us are trained to shrug our shoulders and say, “Yeah, OK. Point taken. Show us another murder then.”

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNIHILATION

Traditional broadcast TV used to be focused on something called public service. A certain portion of the broadcast day had to be devoted to public service programming. The news was part of that mix. News often didn’t make a profit in the early days of TV. It was a resource drain. It was dry. They only had film, no video tape, and the guy just read the news to us.

That has all changed. Broadcasters figured out that news could become a profit center if it were run more like drama. Being a profit center meant teasing and trapping viewers, boosting ratings, and delivering the crowd to advertisers who are paying for all this shit.

The news is the practice of scaring the crap out of us in a socially acceptable way. It’s a parade of train wrecks — that’s metaphorical unless they are “lucky” enough to score a real one.

Watching the news is sitting there like a zombie (which is also what you do when you are being hypnotized, just in case you never made that connection) while you’re being fed stories of conflict. Besides that, you have to suffer through a barrage of fear-mongering commercials, many of which are mini-horror flicks imagineered to upset you.

Some people appear to be waking up to this condition and are not watching the news anymore. They see the news as tease, lure, fright, dread, analysis, thank you.

I heard from a Facebook friend who said that her husband, recently treated for depression, had “watched A LOT of CNN …. but stopped a few weeks ago. He said he suddenly noticed just how negative it is.”

NEWS AS ILLUSION

How can news be illusion if it is all about facts? Isn’t seeing believing?

This is actually a complex question with many different veins of explorations to follow. The bottom line for me is that if you watch a ton of news, you get a very distorted, unbalanced perspective of reality. The stories might be real, but the balance is off-kilter.

This is similar to how porn is a very distorted, unbalanced perspective of happy human sexuality. It’s sort of real but nevertheless selective and formulated in what it shows.

The news could feature a balanced spectrum of solutions if it truly were about public service; the norm now is that the news gushes with the worst of everything. I yearn for the day when the News Director will say, “Let’s focus on positive solutions to the real problems facing humanity.”

DEFINITION OF NEWS

So is the news actually supposed to be a sewer documentary?

I look at my own world. I have done bunches of reading and personal research on near-death experiences and after-death communication. I have talked with people who say they “died” and experienced alternate realities. They are fully convinced that their brains didn’t make this up, and many have made dramatic post-NDE personality shifts.

As it is currently presented, the news rarely goes there. They’re wildly happy to cover fatalities but loathe to consider what happens after death. They’re wildly happy to cover shit, but are they willing to turn it into fertilizer in the form of stories that help us all heal social ills?

Just sayin’.

People seeking answers these days are leaving mainstream broadcasting and choosing YouTube, Netflix, and similar venues. They know that by searching online they’ll find topics traditional news ignores.

Understandably, skeptics as well as news providers point to science as to why the nature of death is not speculated on in the news. Maybe so, but that does not explain why the news needs to portray death and disaster with such sideshow drama — unless it’s about making money.

BIG CONSPIRACY?

I am not a big fan of conspiracy theories. I don’t think that the Media Monster is out to enslave us—even if that does prove to be true! I believe that this is just how the media organically evolved when it was unleashed into the mainstream as a moneymaking enterprise. For people in the media, this is their job. This is how they feed, clothe, and house their families. It’s the American way.

I still think it is ruining the consciousness of the planetary community by flooding us with negative stories dramatically rendered, but I don’t see conspiracy.

MIND YOUR MENTAL DIET

Ask yourself what is the value of learning about all the discord in the world — especially when it is clearly not being balanced with solutions.

If you are really into the news, take a day and watch it mindfully. View it defensively. Reflect on how your attention gets grabbed and by what? Watch what hooks you emotionally. Study the techniques they’re using. Considering that passive televiewing is a form of hypnosis, or works similarly, are you pleased with all the conflict, stress, and strife you are feeding your unconscious mind?

You might also reflect on this: what do you get from the news that you really need to know? Could you get that from another source? Are you really being served?

Remember, we are talking about your mind, your emotional well-being, your life.

THE MOOD-O-METER TEST

Here is a fun experiment: Compare the “news” you watch to places like ted.com. Do a day, a week, a month.  See which one is performing a better public service. See which one makes you feel more like living and thriving, more like engaging and joining with others.

If you normally watch a half hour of news, watch a half-hour of speeches on ted.com. See if it makes you feel different.

I guess it’s not a closely guarded secret which one floats my boat more.

The news is not the high road. It is not currently the solution. It may actually be much more the problem since all it does is rifle viewers with messages and visions of ain’t-it-awful?

Mind your mental diet. Learn how to monitor what kind of consciousness you are feeding your brain. Feed it good stuff.

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