Wednesday, May 4, 2011

News cycle is in the wash

Is it me or has the 24/7 news cycle begun spinning wildly out of control?

In a span of eight weeks, from March 11 until today, there's been an almost constant, unrelenting stream of news. It began with the devastating earthquake in Japan, quickly followed by an equally devastating tsunami, quickly followed by those fears of nuclear meltdowns and radioactive free falls.

That in itself seemed enough news to consume us all for a year. Indeed, the news from Japan stayed with us for several weeks. I was wondering what I could do to help, even if it was just a small check to some relief agency somewhere.

But then came our own brush with the news cycle when tornadoes and high winds clobbered North Carolina, knocking down trees in our very own neighborhood, and knocking out the power in our very own house for nearly a day.

Last Thursday came the devastating tornadoes in the Deep South, hitting Alabama particularly hard. I'm still appalled and shocked by the death toll, which now has reached 328 people across seven states. So when did the South become Tornado Alley? I'm not sure we're done with this: traditionally, May is the worst month of the year for frequency of tornadoes.

There was a brief respite from reality when the royal wedding gave us pumpkins and carriages and glitter and silly headwear the very next day. I wasn't going to spend much time with this wedding thing, but it turned out we actually might have needed this diversion.

Then, on Sunday, we learned that that unholy terrorist Osama bin Laden was finally taken out by a SEAL team, the very same team that Lexington's late Josh Harris was a member. I thought of Josh, who died in Afghanistan in 2008, almost immediately when I heard the news and wondered if it was his unit that was involved. It was. I wondered, too, if some of the SEAL commandos who attended Josh's memorial service here in town at First Baptist Church several years ago were in bin Laden's compound in Pakistan on Sunday. I can only guess: probably. At least, I hope so.

I wonder if one of them pulled the trigger?

At any rate, the news cycle seems to be spinning unfettered these days. Even a news junkie such as myself is getting a little weary of the constant onslaught of media, data, pundits, charts and animations, and yet, I can't seem to walk away from the TV.

Maybe a little 23/6 is in order for now.

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