Why Cable TV is partly to blame for our stress...


I remember several years back trying to explain to my mom - who is now almost 80 and not online at all - that the stress of now is in the excitement and stimulation.

Do you remember the news at night, back when it was 3 channels - ABC, NBC and CBS?  Do you ever watch those local channels news programs now?

Then compare that to news channels like CNN, FOX, MSNBC.

And with those like PBS, NPR.

And there you have the continuum with the CBS/NBC/ABC on one end and the cables on the other and the PBS's/NPR's somewhere in the middle.

The big 3 are sleepers compared to the cable news channels.  It's like attending a traditional catholic mass vs. attending one of those big TV evangelical services!  Cable news (and cable in general) has upped the ante on the stimulation factor.

As I sit here writing this to you, I am as usual hanging on to every word of today's politics via cable news that I can, in between house work and work-work.  

And therein lies the rub...

Cable news has both excited and stressed us in positive and negative ways.  Yes, good stress is also stressful!

As I am sure you've noticed, cable news gets more INTO the news and the stories it seeks, whereas the regular channels read things from a prepared script.  Dry, droll, etc.  In fact perhaps this is why I tend to not watch my local news anymore.  I used to shame myself on this thinking: what, don't I care about my city and state anymore? Well, it's more complicated than that, isn't it?

Another important point about cable news is that it includes opinion and yes, entertainment.  We become more attached to the personalities on there because they put more of themselves into their work.  Local news has no doubt noticed this and more than ever you will see your local news 'team' kidding and getting more personal with each other during the news.  They know this 'be yourself/share yourself' things increases ratings.  

The bottom line for all of this is that unplugging from these programs becomes harder to do and takes longer to 'install'.  Oops, I used a tech analogy. How about a better choice phrase: 'shift into' or 'downshift into'.

And the constant positive reinforcement of the excitement is even more stimulation-producing.  The constant 'breaking news'. Everything is breaking these days, according to the news stations.

This is one of the stressors my mom cannot relate to.  Why?  She doesn't get online or watch much cable news. I envy her, but then again she is missing a lot.  

Or is she?  The constant 'on' and stimulation those of us who follow the cable news shows may be detrimental to our health.