Confession: I was a junkie.
No, I’m not talking drugs here … although given the decades I was misspending my youth I was far from circumspect, but that’s not what this post is about.
This is about news. I was hooked on it.
Starting in high school, I have written for newspapers, worked in TV newsrooms, yapped away on radio and made money keeping track of media coverage for companies, lawyers and folks whose babies won beauty contests. I’ve followed murder cases and exploding Fords, sticking 45-second clips onto reels that run for days … in the process stamping permanent images of mayhem to the inside of my eyelids.
For much of my adult life, mornings didn’t begin until the radio clicked on at about the same time the newspaper hit the doorstep, and my coffee always came with opinions.
Rehab for me was a small island in a big ocean a long way from everywhere else where there was one TV station that aired 5 minutes of news in English … didn’t matter, since I had no TV … and a newspaper that consisted of 8 pages. And … there’s no news on Sunday.
Cold turkey is ugly, and I suffered, right up to the time I shook the yoke of the constant flow of information on world happenings and it dawned on me that horrible shit can happen without me having to know about it.
I have learned to be a social imbiber of news, taking in what interests, educates or elucidates and allows me to participate in dialog with others likewise motivated to keep up with some of what is going on beyond the inside of our own front doors.
This being the case, this year’s Reporters Without Borders report listing “Forty predators of press freedom” has me tipsy enough to actually put a blog post together.
It’s a disturbing read:
There are 40 names on this year’s list of Predators of Press Freedom – 40 politicians, government officials, religious leaders, militias and criminal organisations that cannot stand the press, treat it as an enemy and directly attack journalists. They are powerful, dangerous, violent and above the law.
There are few surprises, as it doesn’t take an article addict to have the dope on regimes like those in North Korea and Burma and know that journalistic freedom doesn’t even blip on the radar of rights denied. Zimbabwe, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Cuba … ditto. Spain was a bit of a surprise, but that’s an ETA thing, apparently, like Italy’s issues with organized crime taking a toll on truth-telling in print or broadcast.
Personally, I’m not at all happy to see Mexico named as among the most dangerous countries for journalists, having had 62 killed in the last decade, and I’m happy Ernesto is a musician, not a reporter.
But back to my recovering news junkie status and how I’m dealing with this infusion of inclusion in the goings-on.
Strong arm tactics, murder, intimidation … yeah, yeah, yeah. Reporters will balls have dealt with this since Grag covered Yurk’s attempt to take over the cave by hiding the mammoth meat.
Quite frankly, all the predators described by RWB don’t scare me half as much as Fox News.
It’s not vicious attacks on reporters that will crumble the fourth estate to dust, but pretty people passing palatable pap to the people … the vapid to the vacuous.
Far more insidious and likely to put an end to journalism as we once knew it … Sarah Palin clothed as credible.