No, it's not a typo in the title. It's a question I ask myself with greater frequency these days. What, exactly, is the news? I saw a headline today: Supreme Court upholds health care law 5 to 4. That's news. Then I turned on the radio and heard that I was about to hear from experts, people on the street, people who liked it, and people who didn't like it, all letting the world know their opinion on the topic. That's not news. Newflash: Opinions are not news.
I have not turned on the television all day to avoid being exposed to yet more opinions. The moment the facts stop, the news stops. Is there room for good, insightful news analysis? Of course. But opinions do not analysis make.
I believe we've reached a media mountaintop where most of what comes into our viewing range is opinion, not news; fast thinking, not thoughtful analysis. The continual airing of opinions feeds an emotional cloud that hangs over us and is ripe for storm-making.
I'm working on a news diet, training myself to listen and look for the facts in the broadcast, then turn off the "input," whatever the medium. The next "course" is to make my own little brain work out what I think, do my own analysis. I used to do this more naturally and more often before the 24/7 pseudo-news-cycle.
We'd all be smarter, I think, if we turned off the radio, television, Internet, and the talking phone, once we know what needs to be known. Then set our minds to exploring that new set of knowledge--without outside "help." By creating our own opinions and thought-responses, I believe we could become better, brighter human beings--something I always thought the news could help us be.