Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)

Life in the Pedestrian Lane: It’s in the news

There really is more going on in the world than the action in Ukraine

Did you know that in mid-February a ship, carrying 4,000 cars sank in the north Atlantic. Not just cars, luxury cars: Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, Bentley, Lamborghini. The ship left Germany, headed for Rhode Island, but sank off the Azores after catching fire. The loss was about $438 million.

Or that the area around Boulder, Colorado, that was in the news all last summer because of fires and major loss of property and life is once again on fire and people are having to evacuate, or that Madelaine Albright, former secretary of state, has died, or that there was a major plane crash in China that none of the 132 people on board survived. They are still trying to determine the cause of the crash.

There really is more going on in the world than the action in Ukraine, despite what 24/7 news reporting would have you believe. I don’t deny the action in Ukraine is newsworthy, and terrible, but 24/7 reporting is not alleviating it, and apparently that is all we are doing except throw money at it. It feels like a major distraction after having just come out of two years of constant news about “the pandemic.” As long as there is no reporting about inflation, border crisis, possible recession, the rise in crime or anything else going on in the world, it’s not happening apparently.

Some of my friends give me a bad time because I watch Fox News, but I have discovered that when I watch NEWS, all channels are the same. Some even use the same words to describe an action and even some of the same foreign correspondents to report the news from the Ukrainian front. But at the end of the segment, on Fox, usually a few minutes is devoted to what has happened in the rest of the world that is newsworthy. It gives me some assurance that there is still a world out there beyond the Black Sea.

It’s when the stations change to commentary that I have to decide between simpering condescension, or acidic vitriol as they opine about the latest restatement, pull-back, or flat out denial by the administration (whoever that may be) about something the president has said, or not said. You may understand why we watched old Westerns all winter.

One day, after a particularly redundant two hours of the battles in Ukraine with CNN, MSNBC and Fox all repeating themselves and no Westerns in sight, Hubby commented, “What if CNN had been around during WWII?” And I cringed, trying to imagine Bill Mauldin, Ernie Pyle or John Hersey brandishing a microphone in a foxhole and asking a soldier who had just survived an attack that killed half his unit what he was feeling just now.

When I was a kid, the news was by radio, and only a couple or three times a day. Noon and six in the evening. Probably early morning, too, but I was not aware of that one and I was only aware of the others because it either broke into something I was listening to, or I had to be quiet while the newsman was talking. The rest of the day, unless something major happened in the world, it was soap operas, music or variety. Mysteries and quiz shows came in the evening.

If we went to a Saturday matinee, the news reels gave us a visual of the action on the war front, but at least a week later and probably a month or more. The narrator didn’t appear on the screen and only rarely was it actual bombings or other action, but usually the aftermath of a battle. And along with all the war news, there was always a human interest piece about something that happened in New York or California or even Oregon.

It was a few years after the fact that I read those major journalists whose reporting gave my parents the news from the front as they saw it. I didn’t realize then I was experiencing reporting as it should be: straightforward, unbiased and as lived. It has only been in the past few years, since the advent of 24/7 news that the journalistic media has begun to think they are the know-all, be-all of information. That their view is the only view and what they deem important is news.

That’s probably why we spent a week dissecting “the slap seen round the world.” That news shined more attention on the Academy Awards than in the last five years. “The Slap” was interspersed between reports of Putin’s horrible and continuing war crimes against innocent civilians, including children. Reminded me of the recent news of the rabid red fox running around Capitol Hill that bit nine people, including a congressmen and a reporter.

They euthanized the fox.

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