News or Noise?

I had a very…bumpy ride returning back to the States after studying abroad. It involved a passenger getting so ill on the flight, we landed in Pittsburgh rather than Dallas and had to wait about two hours for them to “clean things up.” I arrived home five hours later than planned. Well, I’m just glad to be back.

Except, only to a certain extent. There are some things I really did not miss. Not one bit. Reasons I was glad to leave the States for as long as possible. Not only did I miss not driving by pro-life and pro-gun billboards, but I sure didn’t miss hearing about our current situation in the White House and all the drama involved.

Admittedly, I was around lots of news stations on Trump’s 100th day in office that coincided with environmental marches in some US cities. But beyond that, whenever the news pops on, there is inevitably involving something about Trump. The ridiculous number of executive orders he’s signed or whatever random remarks he makes or the questionable interactions he has with others. Personally, I did not sign up for politics to turn into a reality show.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to start writing about politics as if I feel qualified enough to discuss major issues. It’s not my thing. But regardless of what you know or not, it has become everyone’s business. We cannot avoid the incessant antics of the Trump administration and the fear it has created with nations like Russia and North Korea. Heck, it’s tense enough in our own country, thinking about facing conflict with others just sounds a recipe for disaster.

As a media consumer, I know that when I choose to turn on a television or read whatever headlines make the top of an aggregated list, I subject myself to mercy of media bias, what platforms want to focus their attention upon. Media cannot determine how we as individuals think, but it determines what topics we think about. Whether you like to think about it or not.

Which means that even when I’m not consciously searching out the latest US and world news, people are talking about it. It’s a new topic for small talk knowing that usually someone has SOMETHING to say about White House-related antics. Maybe I should care more, but most of the time, it lacks depth. The issue discussed doesn’t result in healthy political debate and awareness; it’s a lot of complaining.

Just like my rant about violence depicted on the news, this is no different to me. That we are becoming numb to the static noise. That it’s weird to NOT have a new Trump update to critique. A newscast that doesn’t have at least one mention of Trump feels off.

If we have so much to say about one person and his employees, why aren’t we putting this energy into action? We certainly have through marches across the country and leaders speaking out for the voiceless, but I wish the constant stream of Trump was replaced with others, a diversity in the people and stories we follow.

This is probably a vague request to ask as someone who hasn’t been immersed in this new wave of reporting and new administration. Coming in with no expectations, it’s overwhelming. It feels imbalanced. It’s as if there’s a thick fog clouding our vision of any other lens, and I’m in dire need of fresh air.

One person’s rambling won’t change much. I know that. All I ask is that we not only point the finger at the drastic decisions Trump makes that affect everybody, but also criticize and analyze the news outlets framing a very narrow lens. Whether that lens skews left or right, there has to be a middle ground. The sooner we find that, the easier it will be to rationally respond to issues of concern and broaden our horizons to not-so glamourous issues.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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