Is it just me, or has the evening news just become too obscene to watch? I studied broadcasting in college, and I remember way back when there was a brouhaha roiling over the new standards to move TV shows with certain content (i.e. sex and violence) to after prime time, when the kiddies would be in bed. Not a bad idea, in my opinion. I write erotica, but I am going to be one of the first to tell you that there is a time and a place for everything, and young children do not need to watch shows that features stories about pedophiles and execution style murders.
Which is exactly what’s been on the news in the last few days.
I am so sickened by what happened at the Amish school in Pennsylvania. A man armed with three guns came into the school and took it hostage. He sent out the boys, the teachers and some pregnant women, then lined up the young girl students and shot them in the back of the head before killing himself. Five of those girls are dead. Why would anyone do such a thing? These were Amish children, for crying out loud! I doubt they’d ever hurt so much as a fly. So why, why, why did this lunatic have to kill them in cold blood?
The other story in the news that’s making me sick right now is the one on Congressional Representative Mark Foley. That’s right, the Congressional Rep for the state of Florida, a man who gets paid by your tax dollars, has been sending sexually explicit text messages to underage students working as pages on Capitol Hill. How disgusting is that? Makes what Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky did look pretty tame by comparison. Of course, the news is all over this too. They’re howling about how the Republicans may lose the House because of the disgust the public feels over this scandal. Forget the public’s disgust over the way the current Republican administration has conducted business in general during the last few years. We all know nobody’s been paying attention to stupid things like unemployment, education reform, jobs lost overseas, etc. We only care about gay marriage, flag burning, and all the sex and violence the news can cram down our throats.
Don’t get me wrong. These two stories should be in the news. There are horrible things happening in the world, and we need to know what’s going on. Being aware of the violence and crimes happening around us is the first step toward putting an end to such horrors. I want to know if an elected official is sexually harassing young children. I want to know that there are crazies out there, armed to the teeth and just waiting to barge into our local schools and start shooting. Forewarned is forearmed, people, and I can not defend against that which I don’t know about.
No, my problem is with the way the news handles these things. The evening news is going to beat these stories to death, probably do several specials on them, then hype them, package them, pimp them and whore them, all in the name of earning ratings. Just like they did with John Mark What’s-his-face, who claimed to have killed Jon Benet Ramsey. My poor husband was on a business trip in Colorado the week that story broke, and he was so sick of hearing about the story everywhere he turned, he wouldn’t even turn on the TV when he came home. Now he won’t turn it on for fear of what our kids might see. The girls are not allowed to watch the evening news. For the past two years, Michael’s been recording it on the downstairs computer and watching it after the kids are in bed. He used to do this because it was convenient, but now he’s doing it because he doesn’t want Cassandra to see the news. She’s smart, too smart, and I can guarantee you she’s pick up the word ‘pedophile’ in a heartbeat. Then, of course, we’d have to explain it to her, above and beyond the conversations we’ve already had about good touching and bad touching. I’m not sure I’m ready for any more conversations like that.
But that’s all that’s going to be on the news for the next several days, if not weeks. And that’s what kills me. Other issues, issues that are just as important, are going to get short shift in the media feeding frenzy. Remember how I said we can only deal with a problem if we know about it? Well, a lot of problems are going to go undealt with because the news is going to be too busy hyping Congressional pedophiles and Amish school shootings to pay attention to anything else. And that, folks, is a real crime, because that’s when the news stops being the news and becomes instead the worst, most pornographic form of entertainment know to mankind.