The More You Know
The More You Know
by Sara Mann

I do not like local news. Granted, I like to be informed but I cannot force
myself to watch newscasters anymore. I'm sure anyone reading this has tuned
into their local news watch at one point or another. I have a few qualms about
these people. They live lives that normal people will never know. They sit
there at their comfy desks discussing things that have no relevance to my life
whatsoever. I do not like them. They are bad.

First things first. (An order that makes sense) The thing that bothers me the
most about news reporters is the way they conversate with each other. This
really bugs me. After each big story (which is to be later discussed) they sit
there and discuss it with each other. They share little tidbits of their
lives, with us, the American people. We do not care. We do not want to know
what they thought about Sammy the ducks' newest adventure. I am watching their
program to inform myself about what is going on and their opinions on issues
like "The Chihuahua Lady" really don't affect me. I find it terribly annoying
when, after watching a clip of two dogs getting married and some old woman
watching in delight, I have to hear "Yeah Eric I bet your dogs could get
married." Eric replies "Well, your husband, Bill said he could arrange it"
Then they all laugh merrily. (Incidentally that reminds me of the tail end of
the older Star Trek episodes where Kirk and Bones would make some joke that
Spock didn't get and they would close out with laughter.) 

That's another thing. Why are these people so happy? Why are they so merry?
They have these mock joker expressions on their faces that kind of scare me.
It's as if the real world does not touch them. They are immune to actual news.
I doubt they would even notice if they were being car jacked. They are so
oblivious to reality that it is sometimes funny to tune in. One of the things
that scares me the most about these people is when they actually do report
real news. All laughter aside, they show a picture of a plane crash that
occurred somewhere in Florida. A reporter in Florida takes over, but before
she does these people sit there and try to interpret the video for you. "Okay,
it looks like a plane crash." Why are these people more qualified to do this
than I am? Why aren't I an anchorperson? If I had that job I would make it
more interesting. I would add to the video. I would say "Okay, we have a plane
crash here. Absolute carnage. Nothing but carnage. That over there to the left
could be a seat cover, or a head. Who's to say?" I would bring in the viewers.
(Call your Uncles at NBC folks. I'm ready for a career in broadcasting.) After
they report this video to the public they look at the camera and they smile.
They give a grin and they tell you about the knitting special that Tawny
Rockside is about to show, after these messages of course.

Something else that bothers me is the needless advertising these people do.
They are politicians that we have no power over. They hold the sovereignty. We
cannot choose them. We cannot dismiss them. They are there until someone (who
obviously dwells in a large office kept away from the rest of the world)
decides that they are no longer fit. So, I see no point for these people to
advertise. The news is like toilet paper. In essence, you do need it. *Note
the words ‘in essence'* People will watch. The advertising will not swing them
either way. It is not even the pointlessness of this advertising that truly
bothers me though. It is the message they are trying to share with us. Why?
Why? Why? Why do these people want us to think they care about us? Why are
they playing with us like this? We have emotions! I know that all have seen
these commercials. They are the ones where some very made over reporter is
seen giving a cookie to a child. In the background cheesy music plays. The
lyrics are something like "People you can count on... follow your dreams...
we're there for you..." 

After that commercial you see a Public Broadcast message from a woman named
Mimi or Tutu or something like that. She tells you to stay in school, not get
pregnant, stay away from drugs, and also learn to read. I can't help but
wonder who this woman is and why she is judging the lifestyles of those around
her. Perhaps she believes that her camera presence and her statement of the
obvious is some sort of service to the public. Then, as if this woman was not
enough, a large logo of her station flashes across the screen. We, the viewing
public are immediately engrossed by the blazing lights before us and oh, wait,
they say something. What's that they say? "The more you know." People just
throw that saying around nowadays. "Read, because the more you know." "Eat,
because the more you know." "Don't throw up what you just ate, because the
more you know." Ten bucks says that if you call a reporter in the middle of the
night and tell her that your heat is out for the night, she will hang up on
you. Perhaps that is after she has panicked and called the cops. "The
commoners have tried to talk to me again!"

Commoners. Perhaps you noted hostility in that last remark. That is simply
because these people are not real. They are not like you or I. They come off
as being above us. They are above us to a certain point; if you figure these
people know all that is happening in our world. Now, the way they relay this
information back to us is a whole other story. That's what brings them back to
us. I remember when I was younger one of the local news reporters came into my
class to speak to us. We treated him like he was a celebrity. In fact, he
treated himself as a celebrity. He brought pictures of himself and autographed
them for us. At the time I was impressed, even though I was six and did not
watch the news. I suppose he figured having his face on the TV made him a
star. In that case, we are stars at one point or another. My grandmother
should be getting an Academy Award any day now. They try to get us at young
ages now. They try sucking us into their world of misinformation early. Sure.
We can all grow up ignorant and willing. That is what they want.

My favorite part of these news broadcasts are the weather reports. I have
just begun appreciating these for what they are. First of all, I love the way
the weather men rent themselves out to radio stations and phone lines. The way
they prostitute their meteorologist knowledge gives me hope in a world
where... blah blah blah. I love it when they come on and they point at a chart
that makes absolutely no sense to any normal person in this country. They
always start their report with something like "Well, it's cold out there."
Really? Is it cold? I didn't notice. I was too busy thawing my dog out. (BTW-
at this point the news anchors may start conversating) Then when it is
negative 3 degrees outside they suggest covering your flowers. How about "Go
inside, so you don't die." All that aside, my absolute favorite thing about
the weather report is when they tell you how cold it is, but then they also
tell you how cold it feels. For the love of all that is sacred and holy, why
would we ever need someone to tell us what it feels like? They say "Well, it's
20 degrees outside, but it feels like 10." Thank you for that insightful
report. I think the title of the weather report should be "Okay. Now Tell Me
Something I Don't Know."

On one level I find sympathy for the weather man. That poor guy is like the
joke of the network. While the sports guy is off hanging out with jocks and
the Late-Breaking News reporter is interviewing "Mittens the Kitten", the poor
weather guy is dressed like a groundhog waiting to tell people how long spring
will be this year. The people on the radio stations make fun of him when he
calls in. People yell at him when it rains after he called for sunshine. Old
women ask him about their flowers. I mean, this man is carrying the weight of
the world atop his shoulders. It's kind of sad, but funny just the same. 

I would like to advise other forms of education. Read a paper. Talk to your
friends. What's the news on the street? What do your homees have to say?
What's going down in your hood? >Include your own ebonicly appropriate saying
here.< Read a magazine. Turn off your TV. (My God did I say that?) Put your TV
on mute. (Phew) We can fight these people. We can say no to them, and we must.
If we want them to know that they are not of a different class, that they have
no right to carry on their conversations at times when we could be watching
old episodes of Baywatch, that their goals to keep us ignorant are not going
to happen, then we must say no. So let's all raise arms and claim ourselves
free of this plague we call "Local News", because the more you know... Thank
you and God bless America!
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