The News Is An Unreliable Narrator

cracked porcelain
cracked porcelain

I let myself get caught up in recent TV coverage of the ‘flood’ in Toronto & the train explosion in Lac-Megantic. I was quickly reminded why I don’t watch the news: too much blather & not enough facts – how many times did I see the same woman taken from the GO Train before I realized it was the same woman? The second time I thought – she went back into get her blackberry? After the third, within the same 90 seconds, I realized it was the same clip repeated.

pedestal for rent
pedestal for rent

I get dismayed by the lack of privacy in the face of the same inane questions: how did it make you feel? It seems the greater the catastrophe the more the news feels they have a right to get in there.

Then I remind myself that the news is an unreliable narrator attempting to give a story a sense of dramatic flow for optimum entertainment. The news is just show biz not reality, even when it purports to show us reality.

fine porcelain?
fine porcelain?

Stages of Grief a piece I wrote a few years ago after some event had swallowed the airwaves for a day or two. I can’t remember what it was, but it might have been yesterday – one of the reasons I stopped watching TV news, or even reading the papers, as it was the same news in different places. The lip-licking eagerness of reporters to get at the ‘victims’ made me sick. I can turn the news off! That’s much better.

writing sample
writing sample

Stages of Grief

I’m not sure

what dismays me the most

the rape of a child

or the rape of grief

the microphonic penetration

of anguish for our entertainment

the refusal to allow one’s grief be televised

becomes a refusal

to participate in national healing

our right to a private reflection

becomes a crime as dangerous

as the original rape itself

the interview is now

one of the stages of grief

grief is no longer a feeling

but a process

we each must be pushed through

whether we want to or not

we have to face the theme music

or be denied any sympathy

not wanting to speak out

becomes shame

that creates a backlash

oh you turned down that interview

then you really didn’t suffer

our suffering is only real

when it hits the airwaves

the private stuff

is mere self indulgent fantasy

the tears for public consumption

are the true and noble emotions

the greater the anguish

the closer the the close up

the more agony shared

the better your ratings

the closer to God

the longer the camera stays with you

the faster grief fades away

……

message from above on sidewalk by my house
message from above on sidewalk by my house

2 thoughts on “The News Is An Unreliable Narrator

  1. Love the poem! And so, so relevant. I don’t watch the news for the same reasons you listed, but now, my social media force feeds me the depressing headlines and sensationalism. smh…

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