The problem with our media diet


Now watching Morning Joe live from Los Angeles, with kids in the room for their Education Nation show Brewing Together with Crenshaw High School suddenly, congressman sexting is not that important of a topic.

What I’ve never understood about “what will the children think” is that it is always applied to something trivial, usually to consensual sexual relations among adults. No one ever asks “what will the children think about genocide in the Sudan?” or “what will the children think about the government torturing people?”. I can remember as a kid, listening to the news and hearing of horrible atrocities and being genuinely troubled by it (truth be told, I still don’t like to listen to that stuff, even though I think it’s important that it be reported).

via Balloon Juice » What will the children think?.

We don’t teach our young people enough lessons that deal with harsh realities of our country or world. (e.g.taking the word nigger out of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” or the Founding Fathers as infinitely virtuous men). We shield them from what they can handle. When these people grow older, the news caters to our youthful historical diets not to the import of the issue with regards to our adult lives. We are in three wars in four countries that cost billions a day and thousands of lives per year, think about the 1st month of coverage of those military efforts received from network and cable news. Today we are lucky if you get 1/6 of a news show dedicated to all three of costly military actions.Without a good grasp of history and news we lose the ability to process political and determine our reaction with perspective.

My first job out of university, I remember a co-worker who was smart, industrious, a great colleague was about to celebrate her birthday. She was excited because her father bought her and her sister diamonds for everyone of their birthdays. As a young liberal, I felt it was my duty to bring up blood diamonds. She hadn’t heard of that before. Me I was beside myself not because she didn’t know about blood diamonds, but that she didn’t believe that anything I said had a chance of being true. What I never thought about until well after that moment: watching news like ours, she probably knew way more about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky (and not the rest of the Whitewater investigation) than about geo-political pressures in Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, the Congo or Angola.