Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just the Facts

Alex and I have left our bed—awakened and gotten up—three times since it became Thursday (since midnight). I am happy to report that I have had no problems breathing at any of those times. Of course, I really wasn’t asleep on any of those times long enough to have become dependent upon the CPAP to force air into my nose.

I thank each of you who commented on my Tuesday’s blog for your concern and suggestions regarding my awakening breathing problems. As I mentioned in my responses to your comments, I have an appointment at the VA pulmonary care clinic on March 20th for recertification of my oxygen therapy. While there I shall request to speak with a respiratory therapist and ask if I may be taught how to breathe.

Daily News ~ Tommy Paxton

The resent shooting rampages in Alabama and Germany have shocked and even frightened many people. One of the latter is my 86-year-old mother. Each time we have talked by telephone over the past few days, she has spoken of the homicides, the fear they provoke in her, and how, when she was young, these types of mass killings never took place.

I do not know about her last observation and haven’t the time at the moment to research such the history of such berserk killing sprees. However, I do understand how such news can incite fear in folks. I wonder how many people are dealing with that fright in the manner that my mother is: she has decided not to watch TV news programs.

As I reflected upon my mother’s decision to shun TV news shows, I realized that I have not been watching TV news for several years for a similar reason. It isn’t necessarily the horror stories that I desire to avoid, but it is my inability to select what stories are broadcast.

I don’t know about your local TV stations, but mine air a seemingly endless series of stories of automobile wrecks, fires, live reports of non-newsworthy events, and, of course, crime reports, each complete with video footage. I think while watching a 30-minute news program, I would be exposed to at least 25-minutes of worthless dribble. That now includes CNN and the other network news, with the usual (but not always) exception of the BBC.

Perhaps that is the reason that I prefer to obtain the news from old fashioned newspapers and the new technology of the Internet. I am able to use the same technique in screening information with both of those media—a technique that I have found effective for at least fifty years. I can quickly scan stories, beginning with their headlines and the first few lines, and decide what stories I want to read and what stories I don’t want to read. For example, if I find names such as Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, or Dr. Phil in a headline, I pass the stories by without even glancing at the first lines of the story.

These can be frightening times in which we live. However, we human beings have been living in what could be termed frightening times since the beginning of our existence: was that sound I heard behind me a saber-toothed tiger preparing to dine on me? Or, was it Alex sneaking up to claw at my genitals to get my attention?  

I see no reason to avoid information about what is going on in our world if one desires that information. However, I do think it is wise to avoid the news sources that exploit and sensationalize news. When I encounter such yellow journalism (if it can be truly called journalism) I have the urge to say, as Joe Friday supposedly (but not really) did week after week on Dragnet, “Just the facts, Mam. Just the facts.”


  1. Everytime I turn the news on recently it seems there's somebody shooting or knifing someone else!:(

    I'm glad to hear your breathing isn't as bad as it was m'dear. x

  2. 'No news is good news' - says it all, whichever way you interpret it!

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  4. Yeah, what you said!!!

    I also prefer newspapers for news, but I didn't realize why until I read your words. Yes, that is part of it, plus I can read when I want rather than on the prescribed 5:30 to 6:00 or whatever. That fact is one drawback to living where I do; there is one weekly paper usually with 6 pages, and one semi-weekly with around 15-20 pages. I miss having a newspaper with my morning coffee.

    I now watch a news program about 2X a week, and get most of my info from BBC.

  5. I'm glad that you are breathing easier and that soon you will have an appointment with the VA.

    Don't get me going on the "news"! I think the news business has two motives: 1) to keep people frightened by repeating scary stories over and over, and 2) to "entertain" (or numb our brains) by focusing on the Britney Spears of the world.

    An example of #2: The event that I just participated in, which memorialized the deaths that have occurred as a result of the Iraq War, was preempted in the media by an article on the Denver Nuggets' cheerleaders.


  6. Iam thankful that your breathing is better. I understand your Mother's fear and pray for her safety.

    I am in agreement with your post about the dreadful news reporting. I usually don't listen to it because it is so grim.

    Have a blessed day.

  7. I'm so glad that you're going to be checking into respiratory therapy. I'm sure there are breathing tricks you could learn that would help you.

    I never watch tv news anymore either. I get mine from internet and NPR.

  8. Well said, St. Nick -

    I stopped watching the news before bedtime a long time ago, because it gave me nightmares - so I understand how your mom feels...

    Feel better, too - I hope Alex stays off the hose!

  9. Agree with you nick. I too avoid news on tv as much as possible.
    How're you keeping up? Pl take care.

  10. Akelamalu: Thanks. I think my breath problems may have two causes: (1) that I really don’t practicing as effective breathing technique and (2) the transition from CPAP to nosehose oxygen. I hope I can learn more on my March 20 appointment.

    I was going to watch the TV news last evening and time the various stories. I tried, but could stomach it long enough to complete the process.

    Jinsky : Yes, Mam!

    Lynilu: I used to live in a town that had newspapers such as yours; the papers were published on Monday and Thursday. Of course I also sunscribed to the main Louisville newspaper since Louisville was only 85 miles away and the subscription actually cost less than subscribing to the small local paper.

  11. I'm glad you're breathing easier. It seems like it would be hard to have a good day when it begins with gasping for breath.

    My problem with the news is that lately it seems like all the newscasters are Outraged. Everybody is shouting about something these days (except for Lou Dobbs, who just sighs deeply and shakes his head).

    I don't think all of that negative energy is good for people.

  12. I agree with you about the sensationalist nature of the stories that are shown on news programs these days. I also have a problem with the state of journalism. It seems that it has become more important to be first with a story, than it is to be accurate. And rather than reporting the news, everyone is interjecting their own opinion about what it means.

    That's what the op-ed pages are for. Basic news should be about the facts of what happened.

    As to mass shootings, recall that the Texas clock tower shootings happened in 1966. I suspect that this kind of violence isn't new. But with the increased exposure from 24hr instant news cycles, we seem to be more aware of it.

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