TV Poisoning

I lost a friend recently. Until his 75th birthday he had been a happy, social person who loved to sing, play guitar, visit friends, and tell funny stories. Over the past two years, I watched him become  depressed, uninterested in his old friends and activities, cynical and bitter. At the same time, he lost weight, he didn’t eat, he complained of fatigue and pain, and he didn’t have the energy to walk.
What happened? He took his medicines, he went to the doctor appointments, his wife still cooked the same delicious food as ever.
I think it was TV poisoning. Over the past two years he turned on his favorite station in the morning, and he spent all day watching news and commentary every single day. The more he watched, the angrier he became. He obsessed over what he saw. And he wanted to watch more. He walked less, he ate less, he socialized less, he never left the room, let alone the house. It became impossible to talk with him because all he wanted to do was criticize certain races, social positions, and political viewpoints that didn’t agree with his. Any attempt to bring up an opposing view enraged him. His friends became reluctant to talk with him. His kids had to be very careful around him. He disagreed with one of his kids’ political viewpoint, so he stopped talking to her.
I believe his health deteriorated from lack of exercise and constant anger. TV news channels make money off of advertising. Their programming is designed to expose viewers to commercials, and to keep them engaged as long as possible. Some of these channels have learned that the more they outrage their viewers, the more the viewers keep watching. So all of their programming is outrageous. The elderly are easy prey for these broadcasters.
It is ironic that these very same people used to nag us to “turn off the tv and go outside to play.”  I recommend encouraging your parents to change the channel, or better yet…turn off the TV and go outside!
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