I consume my daily news online. There was a time when I used to actually pay to have a bona fide newspaper delivered to my home by a high school kid on a BMX bike, just like in the olden days. There was a time when reading the ‘paper’ at times ended with ink smudges left on my fingers, and any kind of finger smudge always ends up on my pants. Cheesies and Doritos are the worst. It’s a sore point in my marriage.
The age of print media is dead or dying. This news is old news. You can read all about it online or in a newspaper. So, I read news online on a computer with a large monitor. I also listen to news radio. Not commercial radio. Every day I check out local, provincial, federal, and a few select US online papers. I subscribe to news feeds which fire in from all points of the globe. I use filters to try a maintain some semblance of control over what type of news I receive and how often.
The face of news has changed. It’s gotten a face life and a tummy tuck. News organizations no longer cover the news, they somehow find a way to burrow and embed themselves in all the stories, to insinuate themselves to the degree wherein they are no longer reporting on a story, but are reporting on a story they are actively creating through participation. See? Yikes. It’s all become so muddied that I have no idea what is stone cold fact, or a socio-political bias, pure fiction or the degrees of each. I stopped fully believing any form of media years ago. I take everything I read online with a massive amount of salt; a pillar the size of which Lot’s wife was turned into after stealing that one final over-the-shoulder-look back at Sodom.
Now, I am no longer permitted to simply be a passive ‘reader’ of the news. I am encouraged to comment in real time. To socialize. I am encouraged to submit photos. I am encouraged to submit video. I am encouraged to provide my own perspective. I am encouraged to colour the story with my own subjective opinions. I am encouraged to actively participate in the news story. I am encouraged to become part of the news story. I am further supposed to be personally encouraged by the number of LIKES my comment gets, or if trolling, I a thrilled over the THUMBS DOWN my comments get, and the thread of fellow commenters furious and indignant at my wanton ignorance and insensitivity.
I don’t comment online. I barely socialize in the real world. That is not to say that I don’t have opinions. I am always full of opinions, but not opinionated. I usually reserve opinions for a more private forum, typically in person.
I used to write Letters to the Editor. It took time and thought. There was a time when I literally wrote literal letters literally to the literal Editor. Not often. Only when I had something of substance I wanted to convey. The scope of these letters was narrow and precise. They had to be under five hundred words, so the onus was on me to choose them carefully. I did. And the Editor had the right to not publish my letter. That’s fair. I was entitled to an opinion, but not entitled to have it published. It’s not a right.
There’s a been a media shift now where we are deluged with comments that often stray so far from the initial story that it devolves into a sideshow freak-show name-calling horror-show. Why? Everyone is entitled to opinions but do we deserve a forum for every news platform? Does it add to the legitimacy of the provider? It doesn’t for me. There’s a button SHOW COMMENTS after most online stories, whether it’s in NEW, SPORTS, ENTERTAINMENT.
I used to click. Now, not so much. When I started recognizing screen names and thumb shot profile photos I was able to predict the comments and diatribe to follow.
I have a YouTube channel. I disable Allow Comments. This means I don’t get the positive feedback. Online. I do receive it by other means. This means I don’t get negative feedback. This is okay. I always ask for honest, objective opinions. I always ask for critiques. Just not online where everyone is a critic.