Some time back I decided to surround myself with positive things, thoughts and people. I also become selective with the information I read or watch, the same way I choose what to eat or not to eat. Therefore, I stopped reading newspapers or watching the news on TV, as they basically concentrate on the bad and negative things of life. When something good happens it is usually ignored or given a very small space.
A few months ago, while on a business trip in Kampala, I was going through the local newspapers killing some free time, when the headline on the front page of one of them really stunned me, as I read: “Army’s wives complaining of sexual starvation” That was something different for sure! I eagerly started going through the promising article. It seemed that the wives of the army soldiers went to court to complaint on the poor and substandard housing facilities provided by the Army to the soldiers. While making their case, one of them explained that the situation actually affected her marriage. She further elaborated that they could not have any intimacy while sharing the one single room house with their 5 children…. I had to stop reading in order to check the headline once more, since I couldn’t believe the way the news was actually maneuvered! But my surprise did not end there… the following day the same newspaper put a cartoon with a soldier and his wife sneaking into the bush to have some sex while their children were crawly sleeping!
Then I remembered a time in Spain when we were in a bar enjoying some cold sangria and the news headlines on the TV got our full attention. It said: The Fall of Fidel Castro! Gosh, after reading that, we definitely stayed behind to watch the news, expecting to see images of a Cuban revolution! I laughed out and loud when they showed the real story … actually Fidel had tripped and fell to the floor while walking away after delivering a public speech. I really felt sorry for the old man´s accident, but what made me laugh was the way we were tricked into watching the news! How they could make such a fuss out of nothing!
Along the same line, the other day a headline on the Yahoo’s news caught my interest. It said: “They saved Michael Jackson’s brain”. While clicking on the link I bet to myself that this was by sure another reporter’s trick, which at the end proved to be true. Michael’s brain was only kept for forensic purpose and not for the same reasons than the Albert Einstein’s one, as the first lines of the article were implying!
Samples of news being commercially twisted are many. Actually a whole book can be written on it. This fact makes me wonder what the real reasons behind are. If they are doing it that way all around the globe, does it mean that this is what we are asking for?
Why do we prefer to read about sex than housing problems? Why do we only read and watch violence, war, plagues, pandemics, abuse, etc?
Why is there a need to disguise the facts? What will actually happen if the news were reported factually? Would people stop buying magazines, newspapers or watching the news? What is more important to sell or to tell?
Why do we enjoy so much negative and sad information? Is it because it is easy to look at others than to look at ourselves or because we are secretly happy to know there are people who are doing worse than us?
© 2009 Gabriela Abalo – Author
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