Tetmeyer: The news is depressing for a reason


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Columnist Grant Tetmeyer explains why the news can seem so depressing. 

Grant Tetmeyer

Yes, I understand. The news can be depressing. Being blasted by non-stop reports of war, shootings, murders, car crashes, natural disasters and just all-around, generally depressing things. And yes, we see those a lot over positive news partially because it is content that generates views by pulling on your curiosity and a bit of your fear. But it also does a major job that a lot of people don’t like but know that they need. It is something that was fought for for centuries and millennia and now complained about because we have it in spades. At least we think we do. It keeps us all from living in ignorance. It keeps us from being single-minded and blindly following someone or something that may be built on the powerful but fragile structure of lies. 

Now I know that a lot of people try to live by the philosophy of “ignorance is bliss.” And I can’t blame anyone for doing that. It is a much easier life to live in denial and only believe what you choose to believe and only what is spoon-fed to you. But it also creates a society of people that becomes incapable of forming their own opinions. They become sheepish, following whoever has the biggest stick and the loudest call with no regard for who may be calling. It is almost standard for the public to think that there is so much depressing news nowadays that wasn’t present before, when, in reality, the world has always been a bit of a big, dark and scary place. We simply have more flashlights now to really see what was happening in that darkness.  

Journalism is considered the fourth estate because it reports on all of the other estates of American life and politics. It tells you about the shameful secrets that would otherwise be hidden from the public. That would have been buried so that we are unable to form an opinion and must simply accept the ideas of those who controlled the narrative. Letting tobacco companies keep you unaware of the cancers caused by their products, letting the government change legislation with you having no knowledge of what the impact would be until it is too late, hiding the embezzlement of a high-level company executive that worked over hundreds of families just so they could afford to keep living the way they did. If we didn’t have this information, who knows who might be trusted with authority or the obscene amount of exploitation that would have continued to take place without this information, even though there is still a great deal of it. 

Please, don’t stop taking in the news because it’s just depressing. That’s its job. It is meant to give you the important information that others won’t. Use your social media timelines and pages to fill you with joy. Use the cute videos of cats, friends’ pictures, family memories and vacation photos as your source of joy and love and excitement. And keep news around to place everything out. Because if you are too far one way or the other, it’s easy for bad things to knock you down.