Recent news regarding the BP oil well being permanently shut down sounds eerily familiar to the refrain “The wicked witch is dead” from The Wizard of Oz. Finally, there’s an end to the massive destruction caused by that crippled well that sent millions of gallons of oil into the pristine Gulf of Mexico, adversely affecting all who rely on that region and its natural resources.
But, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a corollary loss: profound damage to the American psyche which has been pummeled over the past several months by cable news commentators’ continual focus on the negativity, allowing us to feel our constant victimhood, while being powerless to do anything to alleviate the situation.
And just as quickly as their obsessive coverage of the oil ‘spill’ began, it fell off…just about when it seemed a plug in the well might take. Now, news commentators said little. Then again, they were off to the next disaster du jour.
I believe I speak for a growing number of viewers who are fed up with the barrage of awful news we hear nightly, regarding crises over which we have no control. Many of us have turned off our television sets or sought alternate programming.
Frankly, we suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The economy threatens to bottom again; Afghanistan and Iraq show little permanent progress; unemployment is high; the President’s approval numbers are low; our borders buckle….and then, there was that Gulf Oil ‘Spill.’
We Americans are simply wrung out.
Let’s analyze that recent cable coverage of BP’s Gulf Oil Disaster. Whose idea was it to set up an underwater camera to track oil spewing from the well into the once-pristine waters of the Gulf? (Why would we want to see that?)
Then again, who created the real-time ticker that tracks oil lost in “thousands-of-gallons-per-second,” informing us of the exact numerical devastation at any given moment (small inset picture on one’s television screen or computer)?
In my opinion, the creator of these should be drawn, quartered, and set adrift on that same oil-slick sea.
Even a news commentator like Anderson Cooper (of the Greek god chiseled features) couldn’t lessen the effects of gruesome: Sea birds floundering in thick, viscous goo; marine mammals gasping in a sea turned deadly; wetlands… savaged; beach communities…decimated; lievelihoods…destroyed. All caught on tape, brought to us nightly.
But this wasn’t Darfur, with its slaughter of innocents (in that war-torn region), ethnic ‘cleansing’ (and there’s nothing pure about it), or religious zealots in third world countries over whom we have no control. It wasn’t nature’s fury as seen in New Orleans and Haiti.
The oil ‘spill’ happened in our waters…and it could have been avoided. It occurred simply because oversight was non-existent (allegedly). When oil rig operators opened that Pandora’s Box (at the bottom of the sea), they didn’t know how to close it.
And that makes us angry.
I believe I speak for many: Yes, inform us of events which affect us all and yes, you’re right to tell us the gusher’s shut down—permanently. More importantly, let us know such irresponsible behavior (as tapping into huge reservoirs of oil without proven means to shut them down) can never happen again. In other words, help us be responsible overseers.
Furthermore, focus on things we Americans do right, since that has always been and continues to be “considerable.” We need to get the message out that positive things matter, as opposed to the current focus on destructive elements of our society. It gives a terrible message to the young and is disheartening to all.
In the meantime, cease with 24/7 coverage of negativity. It merely give us a window on our own impotence.
Television programmers……………..are you listening?