The slogan of the NY Times was “All the news that’s fit to print.” The New York World and the New York Journal were at war in the 1890’s. It was then that the term “Yellow Journalism” was coined. It was a racist expression in the race to sensationalism and the sale of newspapers. The NY Times had a reputation of reporting news “on the street” without rolling in the gutter. In the 1950’s there was the Times, the Daily News, and the Post. The first was white collar and the other two were blue. Then there was the National Enquirer which was no collar and no class. It was filled with the bazar, the scandalous, and the sordid. Photos of crime victims and scenes of horrific accidents dripped with blood although they were in black and white. Theirs was all the news “not fit to print” (or read for that matter).
Now there is the internet. The lines are blurred. A little tantalizing title or seductive photo beckons you to “click it” and once you do you have gone down Alice’s Rabbit Hole. As if there is not enough bad news and bad people in our neighborhood and nation, the headline wants to pull you off course and witness some horrid act of evil somewhere in China, or Africa.
I was a news addict. I could not get enough. I started with gateway drugs like the Today Show and Good Morning America, then I moved on to hard drugs. Soon CNN’s twenty-four-seven did not satisfy. Somehow I needed to know what O’Reilly had to say about this or that, Glen Beck, and Breitbart. I know, I know, I was “Strung out” on news crawlers, and split screens. I remember going to the Fillmore East in East Village off Second Avenue in the sixties. The hallucinogenic light show and the music were enough to blow the mind of an entire generation. Now that grey-headed generation is into News. What Timothy Leary was to psychedelic mind-bending for “Boomers” Ted Turner continued with CNN and none-stop- news. I told everyone I was able to handle it. I said I just wanted to know what was happening. Yep! It was a “happening.” Remember those? I was in denial even when I typed “Drudgereport” into the URL. There was a “rush” in reading the Banner Headline, and speaking about Rush, well—never mind.
Then I visited my friend Chris in NYC a retired lawyer and an Opera buff. I stayed with his family for a week and they never turned on the news, not once. I was going through withdrawal, cold turkey with all the symptoms, so I am not sure, but I think there was some Aida, and I seem to remember strains of Verdi’s Nabucco, and even the Pirates of Penzance (although I may have been trippin). When I arrived back in North Carolina I was clean. I reached for the remote by force of habit but before I pressed the favorite button, I suddenly realized I had no desire to listen to max headroom and the talking heads talking about bombs and buttheads. I took a deep breath and decided to listen to some music: St. Olaf’s Choir singing “There is a balm in Gilead”.- Ingimar DeRidder