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Monday, December 28, 2009

Television and The Holiday Blues, pt. 2

Caution: Consult a medical professional if you have major depression, a potentially dangerous condition that requires correct diagnosis and treatment. Home remedies should only be used with medical approval. Also, check with your medical professional for prescription drug contraindications, and double check with your pharmacist to be extra sure.

From now until the new year I'm going to write about depression, focusing on a remedy per day. Today's post is about news and depression. And by depression, I do not mean major depression. I mean something more like the holiday blues.

Yesterday I wrote about TV and the holiday blues. That led me to thinking about the most depressing thing on TV these days: the news. Call it slanted journalism, whatever network you watch it on, because these days it is. Whichever side of the fence your thinking resides on doesn't matter, this isn't about politics, it's about business: the business of selling news.

Today's business of selling news requires a certain amount of sensationalism. It dramatizes the news. It's in what is chosen to present to the viewers. And you can often hear it in people's tones of voice. Wolf Blitzer comes to mind: hard-hitting and arrogant. I don't need the world punched at me that way, thank you very much, click, change the channel. All kudos to Anderson Cooper for his heartfelt news presentation; Aaron Brown, you are missed!!!

Well, you can tell which news channel I favor, and which flavor of news I favor. Your taste may differ, both politically and tempramentally, but the same principles apply: watch the newscasters you are most comfortable with, and don't let them bias your news to the point of making you feel depressed. If they do, we recommend the same remedies we gave yesterday: change the channel or turn off the TV.

For years I didn't watch the news or read newspapers. You know how I keep in touch with important events? David Letterman! Why not get the evening news with a humor slant? Those opening monologues focus on the big news of the day, and the guest interviews often have some current events discussion, too. If you want to find out more about something, you can, without being overdosed by all the world's troubles, which for the most part have nothing whatsoever to do with your life. (A bit of my buddist-ish beliefs poking throught there.)

There are also online sources that present the news more calmly and moderately, such as The Christian Science Monitor, which in spite of its name is not actually a religious publication. For a broader perspective on US and world news than you'd get "at home" visit BBC News. And for a sarcastic, sometimes over the top slant, you can't beat The Onion. When the news gets ya down, they'll put in in perspective for ya.

Remember the saying, "No news is good news." So true, if it's depressing you. Make it your holiday motto, and enjoy happier, more positive holidays!

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