by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC
I haven’t watched television for several years (my local video store loves me, however!), so when I overheard some of the tv-speakÂ while visiting family recently, I was caught unprepared for the shock. How little has changed in the mainstream media in the last decade! There’s the same old stories and drama of felonious events, sports scores and the neutralized political reports. The commercial breaks are higher tech, but just as loud, fast and furious in their bombarding consumer messages.
It was the weather report that really made my heart sink. While generically debriefing viewers on record-breaking wild fires in the overly dry Southwest, the historical drought in the Southeast, the floods in the Mid-west and a number or approaching hurricanes, there was no mention of global environmental issues which are playing a large role in the increasing number of catastrophic events. In fact, major news and weather channels seem to refuse to acknowledge global warming or pose any of the how and why questions.
During the most severe part of the Southeastern drought (our resovoirs were at a mere 30% capacity through last Winter), I wrote letters and sent emails to our local tv and radio stations, imploring them to not just report on current weather conditions (partly cloudy with no chance of rain) but to use the opportunity to inform their audience of the big picture. I also suggested they supply their captive audience with ideas and encouragementÂ regarding water conservation. I received no response.
Unfortunately, major news networks reach most of the population, most of the time, and their generic status quo pesentation leaves the mainstream with a false sense of security and encourages “business as usual”.Â Out of sight is out of mind. We need a way to stay mindful to make change happen. It’s time we know what’s news.