Try a Little Kindness
Kindness comes in many shapes and sizes. Eric O’Grey learned that kindness can come in the form of a shelter dog to go walking with him. Bob Cornelius shows us that a little kindness can make all the difference in a developmentally delayed child’s life. Read their stories:
Eric O’Grey and Peety. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rm0qYRWQpZI
Bob Cornelius and Christopher. http://www.inspiremore.com/dad-shares-autistic-sons-heartbreaking-homework-answer/
Protecting Freedom of the Press
In the past few weeks, two prominent politicians have spoken out in favor of a free press. Good for them! If only they had qualified their support by saying that, just as the political arena needs the checks and balances offered by a press that holds them accountable, the press needs to ensure they do not wander away from responsible journalism.
A recent tendency within the press is to forget that
reporting the news involves checking and double-checking sources to ensure the
information they publish is correct. Too often, if a story sounds good, or if
it will sell papers (read “make money”), the press runs with it, no questions
It goes beyond that. Too often, the press seems to operate like gossipers. If they don’t have anything to talk about, they make it up without regard for how their stories will affect those being talked about or even how their stories will affect the credibility of the press in general.
The role of the press is not to make up the news, nor is it
to advocate one’s own slant on issues. It is simply to report what happened, where
and when it happened, to whom and by whom it happened, and how and why it
happened. Period! No more. No less.
Let us consider a hypothetical situation and how it might be
What: A car crash
Where: The corner of Third and Main Streets
When: 9:00 this morning
Drivers: A taxi cab and a bicyclist
How: Bicyclist cut in front of the taxi cab
Why: To be determined by the police
To report the news, a journalist need only write the following:
At 9:00 this morning, a taxi cab collided with a bicycle at the corner of Third and Main Streets. Witnesses said the bicycle cut in front of the taxi cab, which swerved in an effort to avoid hitting the bicycle, but that the bicycle was too close to be avoided. Police are investigating the incident.
To put a spin on the story, a journalist might write the following:
Once again, a careless taxi cab driver hit and injured a bicyclist. It happened this morning at a busy downtown intersection, the site of similar incidents. Witnesses said the taxi cab was too close to the bicycle. This illustrates the need for the city council to stiffen the requirements for becoming taxi cab drivers and to monitor their movements within the city.
Are we talking about the same incident? One hardly would think so. In the first story, we have a simple accident of the variety that happens many times every day, everywhere. In the second story, we have a political issue just begging to be taken before the city council, if not to higher authority.
Let us insist that the media not allow their desire to sell the news cost us the free press we both need and want. After all, the story might well be written yet another way:
Yet again the media has taken the facts and twisted them to create a story that is no more than another case of flagrant sensationalism – or, in 19th century parlance, yellow journalism. The simple case of a downtown accident between a taxi cab and a bicycle has been parlayed into a plea for government intervention that could make it more difficult for both taxi cab drivers and bicyclists to go about their daily business. Is this what we want from our media, or would we rather have “just the facts, ma’am,” to quote Sgt Joe Friday (Jack Webb) of television’s Dragnet?
So, you might ask, “All that’s well and good, but how are you going to hold reporters responsible for what they write and the media for what they publish or broadcast?”
‘Tis a sticky wicket, as the British might say – or, as has
been said for more than a hundred years, “You can lead a horse to water, but
you can’t make him drink.”
After all, we can preach until the end of time about the need for responsible journalism, but it is up to the news industry to decide to adopt that policy and then to make it the way they do business. Otherwise, government agencies would have to pass laws dictating how the news is to be reported – and, then, it no longer would be a free press.
To quote yet another old saw, “The government giveth, and the government taketh away.” If we give government the power to dictate how news is reported, we can be sure it won’t be long before the government takes the power to govern all aspects of the press. Can we name an old newspaper that once published under those restrictions? Try Pravda, which once was owned by the Communist Party in the Soviet Union and published only that party’s point of view. Do we really want to wander down that road?
What can we do? Here are a few ideas. Perhaps, you can add a few more ideas to the list:
-- We can stop supporting media that publishes and broadcasts yellow journalism. We don’t have to buy their newspapers, nor do we have to watch their news broadcasts. Let their Nielsen ratings drop, and they will change their ways.
-- We can check and double-check information presented by news sources to see whether it is true before we believe it – or pass it along, especially on social media outlets, where news spreads like a wildfire.
-- We can post comments to false stories with links to responsible sources that give the true stories.
In short, it is up to us to hold the media responsible for delivering only the truth. We can do this by letting them know that we recognize a lie when we hear, read, or see one and that we won’t tolerate yellow journalism, no matter how flamboyantly it is presented.
Think about it. Act on it.
The Sunday Supplement
February 12, 2017
Fire Escapes in New York
Some are hideous, but others are almost artistic. Take a
True to Herself