Thursday, April 18, 2013

The bad news effect.

First of all, let me start with my disclaimers.  1. I am an obnoxious rainbow of idealism.  2. I fully admit that I don't really know what I'm talking about.
So with that, I'll just tell you what I think.  When I heard about the Boston Marathon bombing all over the news (just like when I heard about Sandy Hook and all the other terrible acts of violence and hatred and assault) I was particularly bothered the Media circus.  All over facebook, Logos created, "Iconic Photos"....  It just bothers me.
We are so hungry for details and images and more more more of these horrible, horrible things that happen.  It's all over the radio, the TV, the Internet and the newspapers. Everyone flocks to this news.  And I understand we might know someone in the area that this happened and we are worried for their safety or maybe we're really worried about the safety of human kind in general...I know I am.  But I have to wonder, is the media coverage of all these big, bad events just contributing to the problem?
Why can't we have good news? Why does Fox, NBC , CBS and all those conglomerates have to say things like "Is your child in imminent danger? FIND OUT at 9:00!"  Seriously!  Why can't we say "Tune in at 9:00 and hear stories of families who are doing their best.  We'll take a look at a little school with a big heart.  See how this local woman who makes only $9 an hour to care for other people's children all day LOVES her job."  Wouldn't that be more inspiring?  Wouldn't that make us want to care for our neighbors who are also doing their check out a local think a little more about the things we love about our jobs? 
I don't know about you, but when I see stories about mass killings and violence and sexual assault on human just makes me feel scared and sad and angry.  It addresses the huge things that happen in the form of media drama.  It isn't hope-inspiring. It isn't action compelling. And thus, we stay where we are, in this endless loop.  HUGE horrible thing happens.  We all wonder what to do.  We talk about changing laws, or doing something differently...  But nothing really changes.  To me the media feels like humankind's abusive guardian. We are being groomed to feel afraid, to feel distrustful, to feel a loss of self-worth.  And then the cycle continues.  
Because hearing the bad news? That's what makes people continue to feel unsafe.  To buy guns and other weapons to keep in their houses. To blame other people and groups of people for the problem. To continue living walled into their houses, walled into their souls, not trusting or reaching out to understand anyone who has different values, world views or beliefs.  And yes, during the time of the bad news, people DO reach out and help each other.  I know there are heroes (real people) at these events who help, who throw their lives on the line to care for someone else.  And people reach out and hold vigils and send money and that is great. But that kind of stuff happens every day. We just don't hear about it.
And hearing the good news?  That makes people want to go INTO their communities and check things out.  It makes people like their jobs and their neighborhoods and their families.  It makes people FEEL good.  Maybe if we felt good more often, if that were the job of the media, there would be less hatred and the violent acts therein.
What if the media, for six months, reported on nothing but the goodness of human beings, the day to day reachings out of one person to another, the willingness of two groups to come to a peaceful agreement on something?  Just what if?  Would we see a drop in the widescale senseless acts of violence that six-month period? Maybe? Maybe not?
I wonder.

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