KeepingUp

KeepingUp
"I understand that I'm only marginally worthy of the fruits of their efforts."

I try to keep up, honest I do. I scan the morning news. I do avoid broadcast news, though. Trump's election broke my decades-long addiction to NPR. (Interns seem to have overthrown genuine journalists on NPR. I can tell because they elevate the end of every statement into a question, an annoying affectation.) The fact that it's on the tube chased me away from most televised news, though The Muse and I will sometimes watch the PBS Newshour on a Friday evening just to finish off the week; besides there's nothing else on at that hour. The various nightly newscasts, thoughtfully aired in late afternoon when we're still nose to grindstone, seem as over-produced as any campy Broadway musical. The cable alternatives have priced themselves out of our reach. We unprogrammed our remote's access to our local Faux station, but they never very convincingly pretended to be very interested in broadcasting news. They're a shameless, transparent propaganda distributor. I wonder how they keep their FCC license, or would wonder if I didn't know who was running the FCC these days.

As near as I can determine, anything our President touts as fake news is the God's honest truth news and whatever he touts as honest news is absolutely fake.
Neither do I blank check swallow even the provably accurate coverage since I understand those outlets are essentially publishing snapshots of moving events. I most often feel more tipped off than actually clued in, the clueing inning coming after a few days and several sources. My New Yorker serves as a more circumspect journal, taking a longer view. Then, of course, I have my own preconceptions and preferences to wade through.

I never read a newspaper from front to back. I've usually been out to the driveway twice before the paper shows up. I routinely cart it back inside, unwrapping it as I walk, filing the empty plastic into the plastic film bag, sweeping up the remainders of yesterday's news and placing it into the newspaper recycling basket, then lay out the fresh day's paper for perusal. I scan the front page, sometimes hooked into following a front page lede into back pages, but more often slipping over to page three, where I find posted quotable passages from a selection of that day's stories as well as a short column noting which of yesterday's stories were most read. Then I'll head for the next to last page of the main section, the Op-Ed page, where I might find nothing I have the stomach to read.

Through the day, I'll pour over the unread pages of that first section in reverse order, stopping to start a few eye-catching items, but usually not reading clear through to the end of any of them. I almost never touch the Business or the Arts sections, which most often serve as hot pads to hold my steaming bowl or plate while I peruse. I do almost all of my newspaper reading while eating a meal. By the end of two weeks, I have a decent-sized box of used newspaper, which I either tie into a neat bundle or actually stuff into a box for disposal with the bi-weekly recycling.

I also daily scan my old hometown paper's headlines online, though I only rarely read any article in full. The Muse and I have tried a couple of times to subscribe to that damned thing, but found their web service terribly disappointing. We usually couldn't gain access when we wanted to and failed to distract their web department's attention when we needed it. The local paper here mostly reprints news from The Times or The Post, for which we maintain an online subscription. In the absence of patrons, which have all fled to web advertising, the Denver Post has become essentially a means for distributing copies of the same free pizza coupons that plague our daily mail. I watch the ten o'clock television news for my daily dose of local news, though I always turn that off in disgust after the weather report. The reporters just seem too perky for my taste, always smiling, even when reporting a mass shooting.

Little of the news I see seems very uplifting. Much of it seems more of a genuine downer. I find myself frequently deciding that I just cannot afford to read to the bottom of a story beneath a headline, however cleverly the headline might hook my interest. I some days find the Op-Ed page utterly unapproachable, with nothing apparent there which might encourage me in any way. I find it depressing that KeepingUp can be such a continual downer, yet I persist. I consider KeepingUp a responsibility more than a joy, a sacred obligation of citizenship, though it some days costs me dearly. I deeply appreciate the dedicated journalists who struggle to set straight so many records, and understand that I'm only marginally worthy of the fruits of their efforts.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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