A plague approaches. Be very afraid. (video)

Chris Cobler By Chris Cobler

Oct. 21, 2013 at 5:21 a.m.
Updated Oct. 22, 2013 at 5:22 a.m.

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  Video by ROBERT ZAVALA for The Victoria Advocate

You hear about and see them with alarming frequency.

They're everywhere -- or so it seems. They shuffle around, apparently devoid of any deep thought as they mutter unintelligible noises, looking only for the next victim to infect with their hideous affliction.

A primary means of transmitting this plague is the media, where they appear constantly on TV, in movies and even in books. This Hollywood portrayal, sadly, makes it fashionable to be one of them.

They are, of course, the uninformed.

In the Victoria Advocate's new TV commercial, we portray the uninformed as the undead: A logical connection, don't you think? These newz zombies swarm around us every day, sending us chain emails full of untruths, besieging us with unverified claims on Facebook and boring us with their unrelenting drivel at work.

When confronted with the facts, these newz zombies respond with comments like these:

•  "Oh, I don't read the newspaper."

•  "Well, I saw it somewhere on the Internet."

•  "Ugh, I don't bother voting."

You are tempted to say a silent prayer of thanks that they don't vote, but you know our democracy rests on an informed citizenry. At some point, you fear, our country will crumble if the newz zombies succeed in infecting more and more of the population.

At the newspaper, our biggest competition is not radio or TV or even the Internet. No, by far, our biggest threat comes from the uninformed. These are the people who gleefully say they don't want to know what is going on in their community, their state or their country. They say the news is too boring or too sad or just too much. They don't want to go to the trouble of being an educated news consumer and knowing which publications and websites are credible.

Because you're reading this column in your 167-year-old newspaper or on its website, then you already have fought off this plague. It matters to you that early voting has begun for the state's nine constitutional amendments. You care that your Advocate is fighting for open records from the Calhoun County commissioners and from three Victoria City Council members. You want to know how the community can be better prepared for a repeat of the 1998 flood.

Every day brings new opportunities for you to get involved in your community and make it a better place to live. In just the past week, your newspaper has written about efforts to save a historic home, concerns about the health of a frail-looking horse and about dozens of community events ranging from a run to fight human trafficking to a spooky symphony performance for your children.

You take the first step by becoming informed.

Thank you for not falling prey to the newz zombies. While you are laughing at our funny commercial this month, we hope you also will think about the serious underlying message and help spread the cure for the uninformed.

Chris Cobler is the editor of the Victoria Advocate. He may be reached at ccobler@vicad.com and at 361-574-1271.



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