Saturday morning, 8am, checking my email with the CBS News on… so far, a young man fell thru a hole in the ice while snowboarding and they can’t find him, another guy was caught trying to kidnap two young boys (’cause he saw how well it worked out for the other guy?), a travel company went out of business losing all the money for a school trip. A Catch Me If You Can wanna be just got sentenced to 303 years in prison. And, of course, ho hum, more people dead in Iraq.

Now, I’m watching that commercial for the used car dealer with the
good-looking, reasonable IRS agents. Aren’t there
truth-in-advertising laws anymore?

I switched to NBC thinking maybe CBS just had a depressed News Director selecting the stories this morning. Nope. NBC was doing an indepth report on the homeless in Denver with a guy crying actual tears because the situation is so desperate, kids not eating and all. Now the news anchors are chuckling over unintended skylights in upstate New York. People are losing their roofs because of the 100" of snow that’s fallen there over 7 days. Not funny, guys. You get my Not the-least-Bit Compassionate vote.

A Muslim on the Terror Watch List was arrested while D.U.I. Aren’t Muslims forbidden to drink? I mean, how much of a "fanatic" could this guy be?

Switching to ABC just in time for the only happy news: sports. Oh, no, wait: they are replaying over and over an ice skater whipping his skate into his partner’s head, her laying on the ice sobbing. I’ve seen it from every angle now. Good. That should stay with me.

Back to CBS just in time to see them bragging about their hidden-camera interview of so-called abusers of the Medical Marijuana law. Get a life, guys. Who cares? Let ’em smoke dope. Who are they hurting? And what? There’s no REAL news, you have to create some? I guess it’s somehow fitting that they stole the reverse-sting idea from the DEA…

Which brings me to today’s REAL question: what constitutes news? What do we need to know to keep on top of what’s happening in our world? I’m so confused after years of this brainwashing, I really don’t know. Yet. What I’m watching this morning is the most sensational news presented in the most sensationalized manner. Designed to grab your attention, appeal to the "I can’t look away" in all of us… so you are still watching when the advertiser comes on. Like the used car guy.

Here’s today’s scarier question: is this what U.S. citizens want to see? It must be. Tell me it isn’t so. Tell me this is what the networks think we want to see. That we really just want to see the facts. Even if it isn’t true. Lie to me.

News in Costa Rica, like in most developing nations, is no better. On the news here, you witness every bloody, violent detail of car wrecks, dog attacks, you name it. I appreciate that there’s no false modesty or pretense involved. Certainly no hidden-cameras creating news here. Yet.

My choice for news weekday mornings is CNBC. I don’t understand most of it, but there are lots of colors and charts and cheerful anchors and CEOs talking about stock performances and ROIs. Correspondents shouting over the hoopla On The Floor. All happy, happy people. Stocks are exciting again. Sure, everyone refers to the certain correction coming right along, but they’re having so much fun until then. Besides, if you are prepared for a correction, it won’t hurt badly, right? Hey, it’s only a timely correction, expected and all that. I want some of that glee. I’m going to CNBC right now. This newsday could use a reboot!

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