Does The News Make You Feel Dumb?

I have a confession.  For starters I dislike the news.  Particularly local news. Almost as much as I dislike the boner ads you are forced to watch just to learn what’s going on in the world.

The whole deal can be pretty depressing.

But I persevere, because I value understanding how the world works.  So when I do attempt to stay up to date on the issues that I feel are important, I am forced to face an even more important revelation.

I don’t know what the hell they are talking about half the time.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself fairly well read, and understand the basics of many of the topics covered in the news.

But in all honesty, a lot of it is still surface knowledge.  If you tested me, on just the basic history of Iraq, or Afghanistan, and the Unites State’s involvement in the region, I’d probably fail.

Overall, the issues I’m most concerned about, are the ones that affect our very lives.

And so, among the various principles of journalism, I’d like to look to the news media to be a tour guide, helping me wade through the complexity of society, and to really understand what’s going on.


But what I find missing, is news that does just that.  Give me less, of more.  Less of the stories I do not care about, and a deeper understanding of what’s going on.  I’m not just talking about dumbing down the news, or shortening it like CNN’s “Story Highlights”.  I’m talking about digging deeper.

What I need is the back story.

 

I need the history, the geographical context, and really any relevant information behind those complex topics we all hear on the news everyday.

It’s like the teacher I once had, who during the first week of class, with a very thick Chinese accent, attempted to launch into calculus.  I was in the back of the classroom trying not only to understand him, but also to remember what a simple quadratic equation was(don’t ask).

And everyone kept pretending that they understood what he was saying.

 

My point is…It seems like a lot of the news acts very much like that teacher.  They live in that world, and have had years to digest the foundational, nuanced, aspects that must be analysed to fully appreciate each topic.

And maybe there’s a variety of reasons for this. From corporate interest, to the influence the government and the news have on each other.

But without this much needed deeper background knowledge, we are buffeted in the winds of partisan rhetoric, the turbulent fray of political narratives, and in the end a democracy suffers.  What is needed is simple, clear explorations of the most important stories and issues.

Imagine being a link, or click away from easily digging down into the back story of anything you hear and don’t understand on the news?  News for dummies sounds about right…right?  But in a respectful, non patronizing way.  Otherwise people would just revolt…and go back to studying who lost the most weight on Dancing With The Stars.

But is any of this even possible?

What do you think?

Am I the only one?  Don’t lie..you know you hate those pharmaceutical sponsored boner ads too.

Ok..more importantly…When you listen to the news, do you feel like they are talking to you?  Do you feel like you have a deep understanding of the issues? And if so…where do you go for your news?