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Opinion October 2017

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The News Today

By Anne Ashley

Today’s news isn’t about life-changing events or political suicide. It isn’t empowering or encouraging. Today’s news is an annoying reality TV show and wet weathermen.

Along with so many others, I sat watching the news during the recent hurricane assaults and if not prayed, I certainly silently pleaded for any higher power that could slow down or reroute the frightening and relentless advancement of the monsters making their way towards Texas and then Florida the following week.

However, as I sat riveted to the reports of this latest tempest, I also became increasingly irritated by weathermen describing for the fretting audience what it feels like to try standing in dangerously gusting winds and driving rain … while standing in the path of an imminent hurricane.

Anyway, I’d like to go on record now as stating that, although I was devastated for the loss of lives and personal belongings, I was not one of the viewers watching the round-the-clock coverage because I’m curious about what it feels like to get hit upside the head with a flying lawn chair. I've never been in any doubt that it would be difficult to stand up during 180 mph winds. I don’t need to watch a news reporter pummeled by flying debris to appreciate that it’s unsafe. Hell, I'm not even sure I’ve ever deliberately stood out in sprinkling rain, let alone gale force gusts. Furthermore, I’d have been the first one out of town when the warning bells started ringing. I don’t need but one warning of impending doom and I'd be gone like the wind (pun intended).

Now, no disrespect intended, I'm all for reporters bringing us the truth, the blood and guts of any news story – especially as it’s happening. I've always been a news ho…hound. I can vividly recall Walter Cronkite or the Huntley-Brinkley reports of assassinations, moon landings, wars and body counts and socialite kidnappings of my youth. I grew up on scene-of-the-crime kind of bulletins.

I was fixated on the Watergate hearings and raced home every day the hearings were televised so as not to miss one minute of the indignant allegations and political truth twisting. Nixon’s climb up the stairs of Air Force One and then disappearing into the political abyss forevermore is an image etched on my mind to this day. I watched riots and “hippies” protesting for their rights to the bloody end. Incidentally, I knew I’d finally grown up when I no longer cared when the ice-cream man was making his rounds and wondered instead what worldwide disaster had occurred while I was busy being educated. It seemed that my youth was filled to the brim with harrowing events, combat and death tolls and unmentionable crimes against humanity. Real life.

Nevertheless, just as I was castigating the weathermen for assuming that we can’t possibly comprehend what damage a hurricane can do unless you're actually dodging falling trees and floating cars…and then…there it was. Proof. Proof that there are people who do need such overindulgent and irrational graphics. Because right behind the practically horizontal weatherman clinging to a fence post, was a lunatic walking his dog – or should I say, flying it like a kite (ten bucks the dog waited until he returned home and then left his master a little storm of his own on the front room rug as revenge). Did this moron not see the radar images? Did he not see the beatings endured by weathermen, updating us every half hour that the radar images were accurate?

Anyway, more worrying than a guy without an ounce of common sense was the possibility that he hadn’t missed every cautioning, every forecast of looming doom but is so sedated by the constant overhype and dramatization of celebrities and their lifestyle addictions as news that he can’t tell the difference between when a Kardashian purchases a new lipstick and a category 5 hurricane.

Today’s news isn’t about life-changing events or political suicide. It isn’t empowering or encouraging. Today’s news is an annoying reality TV show and wet weathermen. Somewhere the likes of Cronkite, Huntley and Brinkley are turning in their urns


Be sure to follow me on twitter@anneashley57.

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