27 May No more COVID-19 news, please. I need to stay sane.
I am tired of hearing about COVID-19.
The thing is, while I readily accept that this pandemic is here and that it is likely to be here for a while, I find that reading about it demobilises me to helpless paralysis. I find that after reading about that British GP’s experiences treating patients or the fears of that diabetic old person who is afraid to go for her drugs or indeed about the politicians’ wanton statements about handling the pandemic, I feel exhausted. I feel too depressed to carry on. (What’s with that Magufuli?)
Even then, I have something that depresses me even more – to open the newspaper and read the usual fare of rabid political machinations and speculations. For me that every headline on page 1 is about politics speaks to our lack of imagination as a people – that we can only find entertainment in the soap opera that is politics.
In media studies, there is a whole lesson about the notion of media effects. Here’s the conundrum – does media influence people’s thinking or does people’s current predisposition determine the headlines? You see publishers live off the subscriptions and the more the sales the richer they are. It is therefore important for them to have the headline that is irresistable for the papers to fly off the shelves of for people to stay on the TV or radio channel.
Over the years, media has become so sensational that the real news have become indecipherable. But think through the conundrum – could it be that editors are just meeting the needs of the people or are the people like sheep ready to be led to any where.
Mark you, there is a well oiled machinery that involves politicians instigating these stories as a means to legitimising their positions – just watch the TV series House of Cards and then observe our politics. Reporters and editors are on the take to ensure that a story is told a certain way.
What’s worse is that there does not exist many alternatives to the mainstream media to a person who needs to stay informed. Bloggers are to susceptible unsubstantiated stories and innuendo as they are hot held to the same standards.
Ultimately, my position is that I have to limit the amount of news and current affairs that I can read as a means to staying sane. One of my friends, Wambui JL, has taken a much more serious approach to managing what content she interacts with on a day to day basis. She completely switched off all social media and deleted even Whatsapp from her phone!
How are you staying sane?