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Fast-food news

These days, everything revolves around highly individualized instant gratification, and television news is no different. Like clothes, music, magazines or fast food, television news now comes in your own flavor and as quick as you can choke it down. Today, we channel surf the news buffet, often going back too many times for what we want versus what we need. Consuming a steady diet of fast-food news leaves you intellectually out of shape, overweight with opinions and starved for nutritious facts you need to face today’s world.Fast-food news is available morning, noon and night. We wake to the same sugary faces, gleefully sharing inside jokes while serving a spoonful of tidbits about traffic, weather and celebrity sightings. By noon, we gobble up “byte” sized headlines and grab a bag of clips and images to hold us over until prime time.In the evening, we sit ready to digest a full portion of today’s stories but leave still hungry for substance, or worse, we have heartburn after the shouting matches between liberals and conservatives boasting fair, balanced and 360° viewpoints – fat chance. For dessert – comedy, entertainment and sports – the sweet news for unwinding and letting go of the not-so-easy-to-swallow stories of war, economics, disease, pestilence, politics, the environment and crime.News anchors, crews and cause celebs are doing us no favors with their over-the-top rants and over-cooked opinions. Opinion over facts and seasoning over substance ultimately leaves an empty plate and shallow mind.Like any good meal, it takes time to understand the issues of today, to appreciate the various viewpoints and collective ingredients that make up a healthy story. We cannot understand all points on Iraq, health care, Avian flu, global warming, the 2008 election, civil rights, education, social security, rising world powers or shifting economies with only sips and nibbles. To fully understand, appreciate and make use of the news, we have to seek it out like a fine wine or a good steak and savor it, critique it and – most importantly – keep the recipe if it’s nourishing and stimulating.We are given one body, and we need to take care of it. We are given one life to make a difference – to know, to understand, to vote, to contribute. We cannot make a difference if we are intellectually starved and bloated with the views of others. It is time to get off fast-food news and demand more. In 2007, let us write to the local stations and put the major networks on notice – we’re sending your meals back until you give us what we want – less sugar, less fat, less fiction and more facts for the long march ahead.Tom Morlan lives in Falcon and is a consultant and U.S. Air Force reservist. He and his wife, Angie, are expecting their first child in 2007.

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