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It's The End Of The World As They Know It, Do You Feel Fine?

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Critics are taking aim at CNN for its habit of discussing the ongoing Middle East unrest in apocalyptic terms – literally. The cable news network has of late been tossing around the idea that the end of the world just might be at hand, at least the end as some Christians understand it. Media Matters seems to think this is all out of line:
With Kyra Phillips's discussion of the Apocalypse and the Middle East conflict with Christian authors Jerry Jenkins and Joel C. Rosenberg -- who share the view that the Rapture is nigh -- CNN has, for the second time in three days, featured a segment on the potential coming of the Apocalypse, as indicated by current conflicts in the Middle East.
The liberal media-watchdog group never really says specifically what they object to about such discussions. Apparently they believe CNN should have had someone on who disagreed with those who see the four horsemen saddling up, or maybe they believe it's inappropriate to bring religion into it at all. In any event, Liz Cox Barrett at CJRDaily also mocks the idea:
It shouldn't have been surprising, we suppose, that CNN convened an "expert panel" Monday night and devoted nearly fifteen minutes to exploring the alarming question of, "Is it The End?" (and seven minutes the next day to revisiting the topic, and seven minutes again Wednesday to re-revisiting it). It had, after all, been 48 long days since CNN last discussed the matter (on the demonic of 6/6/06 when, to cite just one example, Glenn Beck and a guest discussed, "Could Iran Kick off the Apocalypse?" with Beck noting, "if we don't hit [Iran], you know Israel will hit them ... here we are on 6-6-06. How does this not end in Armageddon?")
Barrett's gripe is a little more specific, noting this is a topic CNN has visited with some frequency over the years. Still, what's the big deal?

I don't know about you but for, oh the last five years or so, I look at the news with a little more trepidation than I used to. That may be because the news has been pretty scary to most of us, not to mention confusing. Kind of hard not to think of the worst-case scenario once in awhile. After all, the whole end-of-the-world thing has been hanging around since about the beginning of the world.

And the apocalyptic prophecy believed in by a great many Christians has been a popular subject for at least a decade now – long before the current Middle East unrest. "Left Behind," a series of books about living through the biblical revelations has sold tens of millions of copies and attracted quite a following. It's pretty clear that this is an idea which a lot of people take pretty seriously – and literally.

Here are my questions then: When the news starts to kind of resemble those beliefs, is it not appropriate to at least acknowledge that more than a few people literally believe the world may be at its end? Does a discussion of that on CNN or any other news outlet further that idea, and whip viewers into a state of irrational fanaticism? Or is it part of our psyche and reality that should be explored and discussed? Is CNN just guilty of approaching the topic in the wrong way? And are critics disappointed it's being talked about at all or that the belief is not being appropriately challenged?