A New View of the News

We complain about the media and all the bad news they choose to show us. Lord knows I do my share. So I hopped online this morning to see if there were any alternatives. But I found a surprising thing.

Some of my favorite news sites actually had a decent offering of “good” news.

But how can this be? The media is bad! They fill our heads with death and mayhem and destruction. Their influence is corrupting our children and eroding our society. I know this, because I saw a story about it on… oh wait.

Interestingly enough, the bad press about the media is a result of the media printing bad press about the media. How strange does that sound? Somewhere deep, deep down in the collective soul of the media, they realize that the majority of what they print or air or stream is bad news. And in a stunning bit of meta reporting, they tell us that the media produces bad news. My head is spinning with the implications.

But back to my morning search. I looked for CNN breaking news videos in three different sessions for about twenty minutes each, and I found that among the over 250 videos available at any given time, easily over a quarter of the stories were uplifting, beneficial, or positive in some way. Breaking video news of rescues, reconciliations, health tips, and general camaraderie among the human race, were sprinkled in among the expected stories of sadness, violence, mistrust, fear, deception, desperation, and anger.

Do I wish that number were higher? Of course I do. But the fact that I was so surprised by the percentage of actual good stories just in the CNN breaking news video section gives me a thrill of hope that our weary world still knows how to rejoice. That while the media has an obligation to report on all news, good and bad (and even their own depressing coverage, it seems), we can influence the balance.

Ghandi told us, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I think a viable 21st Century update to that could very well be, “See the change you want to be in the world.” We need to be shown the best of humanity, not the worst. The worst will make itself known. The best tends to be harder to see.