Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Sunday Sermon on the American Media

Jon Katz, author and blogger, posted this insightful commentary on America's media. Please check it out and let me know what you think.

I've found myself tuning out even NPR news lately. So much of what the media spouts seems so unrelentingly negative and depressing. I don't feel like the news is educating me on the issues like health care and the economy. Political pundits and fear mongers do not educate; they thrive by prolonging conflict and making problems worse.

If the linguistic theorists, the Bible, and Walt Whitman are right, we create our world with language. Our perspective is shaped by the words we hear--in our own minds as well as from outside. We know how powerful self-fulfilling prophesy is in the development of children, but how often do we question how our adult worlds are shaped by the words we hear and speak?

Not often enough, I think.

Wouldn't you watch a whole network devoted to reporting humanity's good side to balance the bad? I would watch, not because I want to hide from the bad news but because I know there is more out in the world than just the negative. Sadly, positive news is hard to find. The mass media sell us a world view of panic, fear, and knee-jerk reactions. We are better than that. We deserve better than that.

I see so much to be hopeful for, so much to celebrate, so much to praise on both a national scale and in my private life. Questioning my Intelligence promotes the positive. For those of you who only read it via email, I encourage you to start clicking to the actual site. The sidebar contains inspirational quotations, and I'm going to start linking to other sites that promote positive perspectives, too. I'd love it if you shared your favorite positive sites with me.

On his book tour, Jon Katz has seen an America full of hope, creative problem solving, and positive perspectives on life even in the face of difficulty. That's the America I know and love; and I suspect the rest of the world isn't too different, either.

Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." That change starts with our words. Our actions are the follow-through.

Right now, my favorite words are compassion, hope, and gratitude. What are your favorite words right now?

Let's start making some noise...positive noise.

Are you with me?


  1. Susan, as always a thoughtful post. I often don't reply because my replies would tend to be just as long!

    Yes.. we deserve more. I used to enjoy the national news for half an hour in the evening ~ many years ago. When I realized it had become overwhelmingly negative and discouraging, I stopped. Having a little one in the house several years later reinforced that choice. But no - I wasn't just protecting her. I was also protecting my peace of mind.

    I wonder if this downward turn in the economy won't prove a good thing. In many ways, I see people turning back to the basics, shutting out technology and choosing not to partake of the foolishness to be found in mass media. At least becoming more discriminating. I hope the coming generations have the wisdom to do the same.

    Whenever you post what you are grateful for, Susan, I always realize how grateful I am for your blog. Thanks so much for taking the time to write.

  2. I am another person who is exhausted by fear-mongering, knee-jerk reactions, and news that isn't news at all. I refuse to dwell on the dark side, but I also refuse to pretend it isn't there.

    I do believe we create our world with language. Do we report that unemployment has hit 10 percent or do we report that 90 percent of Americans that want jobs have jobs? I think Americans are hardworking, creative problem solvers, independent and generous in nature. I also think Americans are more than a little paranoid and eager to embrace slogans over substance. I get tired of endless reporting on celebrities and violence and political extremism and wish for more writing about ordinary Americans, those who help one another and those who need help.

    I'm beginning to ramble, so I'll cut it short, but yes, I understand where you're coming from in this post!


Thanks so much for taking time to comment!