Want to hear some pessimistic news? The latest buzz about the bad guys, folks who blackmail, assassinate, murder, con old people, blow themselves up – along with scores of other people – liars, cheats, hedge fund swindlers, Ponzi scheme manipulators, the whole gory gamut? When and where do you hear such stories? The answer is simple: on any network evening news report.
Anyone who relies solely on the evening news roundup for a picture of the world, and humanity, is someone who will end up with a distorted view of the world and a twisted understanding of people. Then, why so much bad news? Is it true that most of humanity is corrupt? Money hungry liars and cheats? You’ll end up thinking they are if you get a steady diet of network news. So why so much bad news? To answer that question, you have to look at the economics of news gathering and distribution.
Doing both is not a public service, but a business. And in that business, it has long been known that bad news sells.
With this simple fact in mind, one must view evening news with a critical eye, realizing that all of humanity is not the way it is portrayed by the news reports.
My formula for looking at network news is this: remember that for every report about a beheading, a robbery, rape, etc., there are hundreds of altruistic people who perform charitable and benevolent deeds every day, but who will NEVER make the evening newscast – that is, unless they rob a bank or stab a nun in the eye with an icepick. Examples: there is a mother in Kansas or Virginia who goes without the fancy coat and food so her son or daughter can remain in college. There is a father in Indiana who postpones the operation his doctor insists he needs so his little girl can have the operation she needs. Neither parent will become “breaking news” reports on CNN or Fox.
In summary, the next time you view the evening news report, don’t say to yourself, “So, this is the way the world is today.” Why not? Because what you have seen is not the way the world is today. However, you can safely say, “This is the way the bad side of the world is today.” In the future perhaps we will, one day, have the evening news cover the good side of the news. When will that be possible? When we, as viewers DEMAND that the good side of the world and mankind be given equal coverage?
When will that day come? It’s up to us, when we demand better.
Calvin Davis is the author of The Phantom Lady of Paris.