First thing this morning, like most mornings, I turned on my computer and with coffee in hand began to read the daily news. Here are just four of the headlines that greeted me:
“State of Emergency: More than 100 Arrested Around Ferguson”
“Child’s Body Found in Search for Missing Arizona 5-year-old”
“Brother of Texas Teen Shot by Cop: ‘He wouldn’t Attack’”
“Two Dead, One Seriously Wounded in Stabbing at Ikea.”
Is this really what we have become in our news media? Long lists of negative, and for most people, irrelevant news stories that only spread the horror and depression of a few to the homes of many? Is this really what we as human beings want to hear and take in as “good” journalism? I truly hope not.
These things are all tragic and sad, but they do not affect me personally and I have no need to read or hear about them. They do not have bearing on my life every day as I move forward with the things I have to do. There is enough darkness, strife, and turmoil in the area I live without having to hear about it from around our nation and around our world. I am not trying to sound cold or unfeeling. The pain that people in these areas feel, and the anger over things such as racism, crime, loss and suffering are very real and my heart goes out to the victims on all sides, but it’s more than I can concern myself with.
The need of the media to relentlessly cover negative news stories and to publicize these stories nationally and internationally creates a false sense among people that we are safe nowhere, yet the stories they tell are actually an imperceptible fraction of a percentage point of life on this planet. The news media never cover the positive stories with the vim and vigor that a negative story will receive. So rarely is the opening story of the news broadcast positive; they save those stories, if they tell them at all, for just before the closing credits, after weather and sports, when most have tuned out and changed the channel.
I truly believe that the number of human beings that do good, that try to make a difference in their communities through volunteerism, activism, education, and good deeds so exponentially exceeds the negative impacts of a few, but we only hear about the worst. I want my children not to fear their world and those who inhabit it, but to embrace it, to accept people not by how they look, worship, speak, or where they come from, but by how they give of themselves to others – how they spread love, joy, and the gift of embracing a joyous life.
That’s my news. That’s what I want to read. Perhaps if we focused as hard on highlighting the good works of good people everywhere, we could stop having to address racism, rioting, murder, and mayhem in our news. Perhaps that would go farther toward healing the rifts of humanity. And let’s start by worrying about our own homes, neighborhoods and communities and stop worrying about events hundreds and even thousands of miles away. Let’s start small “wildfires” of change and let them spread outward to revitalize the land and people. I don’t know, isn’t it worth a shot? What we’re doing now sure doesn’t seem to be working.