Watch & Listen

Breaking Up With the News

"When did distortion become reality?"

By Abigail Mengesha

Our relationship was built on trust, but you are ridden with half-truths. You hide certain anecdotes from me, like what really went down, who was there when it happened, who did it, and how you knew that was all of the story. You tell me that the gruesome details will disturb me. There is no need for me to get riled up about things that don’t affect me. They’re happening thousands of miles away. I would argue that what happens in the rest of the world affects us one way or the other, but now, when I look back, I find it funny that you told me what to think and feel. That was one red flag out of many, but I was blinded, and chose to ignore it. After all, everyone told me that you were reliable, and my naïve self believed them for far too long.

See, I never thought I would be one of those people who get wounded by their past relationships—but the world has a funny way of working, and here I am. Sore and angry in a world you tried to hide from me when you were meant to share it. 

Abigail Mengesha for Breaking Up with the News.png

Tell the truth!

When did bias become the truth? WHEN DID DISTORTION BECOME REALITY? When did the truth become subjective? I ask myself these questions as I read you in the morning, and you “forget” to mention Sudan’s revolts, and Mozambique’s ruins after Cyclone Idai. I ask you whether Flint got clean water, but you don’t reply. You still call your job “international news reporting,” as you stuff torn-up bits of the truth down my throat and force my paralyzed tongue to swallow. Maybe you forgot. You could have. Maybe I am being too harsh and dramatic. But then again, your job description didn’t have “forgetfulness” as an important character trait. Instead it listed out “meticulousness” and “impartiality,” among other things.

Besides, you are always mentioning the losses of certain people in France, in the United States, and in Britain. You tell me about the incidents as if you had lost your mother in all of them. Admittedly, they’re all so sad and heartbreaking, but in a way you are always saying, “Look at the poor white lives that are lost,” even as brown children somewhere are being sold for their bodies. Even when there is a slave trade happening in Libya at this very moment. Even when Israel drops another round of bombs in Gaza. Even then, certain problems are more important than others, certain casualties are more important than others, certain lives are more important than others.

Honestly, I’m tired, and I will forever be exhausted, because I can’t escape you. You are everywhere: blowing up my phone with Twitter notifications, saturating my Facebook feed, playing on TVs in the background, and appearing in almost all conversations. Dear News Media, I am tired. I am trapped in this relationship, afraid that I will never escape or that you will never change. Despite seeming so reliable, despite having the resources, the connections, and the power, you continue to bruise me. And at this point, I don’t think it will ever stop, since you will never tell the truth. 

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