Thomas J. Madden, Chairman and CEO, Transmedia Group
A young man asks his grandfather to please shut the news when he visits, especially FOX News, which he finds stressful. His grandfather explains that’s like asking him to stop breathing.
GRANDPA I need the news. I breathe the news. It’s the oxygen I need in my life. Keeping abreast. Staying informed. Engaged. And you want me to hold my breath when you’re here? You want to see me to turn blue?
GRANDSON C’mon grandpa, it’s a simple request. Shut the news while I’m visiting. I hate reporters. I can’t stand them. Would you choose FOX News over your grandson?
GRANDPA So you see me as an ogre, a selfish Dr. Strangelove, who doesn’t give you the attention you crave, who doesn’t turn off the NEWS immediately whenever you’re around and replace it with what? The Simpsons?
GRANDSON I’m just saying it bothers me that you never change the channel, even once when I’m visiting. I need to avoid stressors whenever I can, like FOX News. I hate to see the future controlled by self-centered, simple-minded broadcasters.
GRANDPA Son, you have to stop running away from realities like politics, news and current events. I started in the news business. Addiction? No, it’s a livelihood. A career. Being a good citizen means staying informed across all channels. And that’s something you need to come to grips with yourself instead of avoiding the action and passion of your times. You need to think about how to make the world better. Richer. Happier. Safer. Yes even noisier and divisive, if that’s what it takes to get people to think . . . to act!
That’s what we all need to do instead of hating this, despising that and burying our heads in sand. As for me, I watch as much CNN as I do FOX and BBC World News. I’m in the business of staying informed, engaged, abreast of what’s happening in the world regardless of the biased prisms it filters through.
Unlike you, I’m not looking for escape, walking into the woods like a bearded Henry David Thoreau. I believe everyone should be involved, informed. If you’re asking me to make a choice between news and you, you’ll lose.
I remember my dad endlessly practicing his violin and my mother shushing me not to disturb him. Maybe I should have said “Dad, if you’re going to keep practicing, I’m going to live somewhere else. Where there’s no violin!. No Mendelssohn Violin Concerto” And no FOX News? No, as much as I love you and enjoy your company, wear Ear plugs!
GRANDSON Grandpa, I think you’re using news as a memes to cope with your growing old. But in my case, it multiplies the stress levels to the point I can’t function. It’s not the shock of news that bothers me as much as the ratings-focused agenda and propaganda. So honestly, if I am to visit you, I can’t be tortured. This is why I live with no cable. And now you’re electrocuting me with yours.
GRANDPA Excuse me, stop talking for a minute . . . there’s BREAKING NEWS!
About the Author: Thomas Madden is CEO of TransMedia Group, one of the largest independent PR firms in Florida, where it currently operates. The firm’s clients have included AT&T, American Red Cross, City of New York, GL Homes, Jordache Enterprises, McCormick and Schmick’s, Rexall Sundown, Stanley Steemer.