Monday, November 9, 2009

Ida, Ida, Ida -- a "ho" lotta wind

As time has gone by, I have found that I watch less and less television.  I guess it all began when I got Doris, my Singer embroidery machine.  I would come home from work and play on Doris until bedtime.  It became a habit, which has turned into a business. 

Being aware of current events is important.  Looking outside an individual's life into the community, state, country, and world is healthy and necessary.  However, coming from a legal background, we always realized that people allow others into their home without thinking about it.  For instance, we used to get up in the morning and as we were dressing for work, we would have local news and then Good Morning America on the television.  We knew those people by their first names.  They became our friends.  Another example which entails a humorous story is many years ago when my family lived in Louisiana, my mother called my grandmother on the phone.  My grandmother answered the phone crying.  Mama was alarmed and my grandmother was talking about a lady died, a friend of hers.  It turned out my grandmother was an avid soap opera watcher and the lady that died was on one of the soap operas.  To my grandmother, she was a friend.  My grandmother knew everything about her (character's) life.  Because we believe what our friends and family tells us -- for the most part, they would not lie to us -- we are very susceptible to the twists and turns in the way that reporters relay the news.  We believe them because they have become friends and family.  We see them everyday, in our homes, because we invite them.

The same is true with newspapers and the internet.  How many times have you received the same email that years ago someone looked up on and found that it wasn't true?  It's gone around and around and comes back to you time and time again.  People believe these emails because they come from family or friends who would not lie to them.  They come from people you trust.

Living in Pensacola, FL we used to watch the Weather Channel religiously, especially during hurricane season.  People in Pensacola will tell you that Jim Cantore is more than a local celebrity.  Jim Cantore has become one of us.  He doesn't even live here.  But his coverage on Hurricane Ivan and the other hurricanes that year endeared him to our hearts.  It also had another effect.  It alarmed us.  I shouldn't include everyone in this, so I'll say that it certainly alarmed me.  Yes, there were several weather disasters during that period of time that people needed to know.  It went further than that.  It seemed that the least rain shower was a cause for alarm.

All of this is to say that when I stopped watching so much television, I realized that I wasn't nearly as stressed as I had been otherwise.  I still try to stay on top of current events but that is usually via the internet, reading headlines and then I move on.  Earlier this year when the television stations were going to digital, we got the converter boxes and were surprised to find so many channels on non-cable television.  I must admit that if I watched a lot of television, I would probably get cable again because occasionally the reception is poor, but that is only occasionally.

These past couple of days have, again, proved to me that limiting my television viewing is helpful.  My son called me from Tampa this weekend telling me to evacuate to his house.  He informed me that Hurricane Ida was headed in our direction and had already killed 127 people in El Salvadore.  All of this was true.  However, I decided to follow Ida on NOAA, not the news media.  NOAA showed that Ida was, indeed, coming this way but was coming at a pretty fast pace.  I knew the weather up here had the highs in the 70's which would be remarkable for a hurricane to maintain strength.  We were pretty calm about the whole situation.  Not to mention that it's very hard to predict exactly where a hurricane will land.  Earlier today we saw Ida losing strength and NOAA was saying it would end up a tropical storm.  However, the people that I encountered during the day were all alarmed at the approaching hurricane.  My neighbor even closed her hurricane windows.  Schools were closed today and will be closed tomorrow.  Our govenor has declared a state of emergency (along with other governors).  Don't get me wrong, tropical storms can be serious and cause damage but they are not a hurricane.  Well, after the news reported that Ida was no longer a hurricane and was a tropical storm, people that I talked to were still referring to the approaching hurricane. 

One of my dearest cousin, who passed away several years ago, was a journalist.  He used to tell me that as a journalist it was his job to report only facts without any twists or turns.  He would tell me that it really made him sad and sometimes mad that today's journalists throw their own emotions and beliefs into their reporting.  That is not good journalism, and those are not good journalists.

No comments:

Post a Comment