Recently a reader asked why “we” the almighty media always focus on “bad news.”
Answering a question with a question? Very Socratic:
What kind of “good news” do you want to hear, see or read?
Inspirational magazines like Reader’s Digest or Guideposts are filled with stories of neighborhood heroics, community organizing, etc. etc.
If your town or city still has a newspaper, chances are you can find your fill of firefighters rescuing cats from trees or saving babies who’ve fallen into wells; returning soldiers reuniting with their families after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
What people label as “bad news” is stuff that may affect you directly and about which you might be able to do something. California fires? Maybe not in your neighborhood, but still, cautionary tales.
Hurricanes, snowstorms, climate change, tornadoes, tsunamis are all helpful to know about. And so is the constant s*it storm of misery from Washington because at least for now, we still have elections in this country, most of them pretty honest unless you live where I do in one of those congressman-for-life gerrymandered districts.
Let me tell you a story about a radio commentator, Paul Harvey. He was a “star” and a national figure. And he was a conservative wacko by the standards of his day. Today, he’d look like what passes for a “moderate” Republican.
His schtick was to convolute bad news into listenable stories that pulled you in. He once spoke about why he focused on bad news. I don’t remember the exact quote, but the gist of his response was: people like to hear these things because then they can say “thank God that’s not about me.”
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2019