Choose Yes!

Reading or watching the news these days can be a downright demoralizing experience. Nearly every story is a bad one: war, mass murder, political malfeasance, racism, et al.

It’s partly our fault. Bad news makes ratings go up, and in the business of news, higher ratings are the goal. We like our news bad, for whatever reason.

But if you ever get tired of that, if you ever get to wondering if there’s any good news out there, my answer is Yes!

As in Yes! Magazine, a nonprofit, independent publication committed to, as they call it, “solutions journalism.” Here is an explanation from their website of just what that entails:

“Our explanatory journalism analyzes societal problems in terms of their root causes and explores opportunities for systemic, structural change. Our stories uncover environmental, economic, and social justice intersections. Our solutions reporting spotlights the ideas and initiatives of people building a better world. Our commentaries address dominant economic, political, and social structures and consider alternative ways of thinking that can produce a more equitable and Earth-friendly world.”

In other words, instead of just telling you what’s wrong in the world, Yes! Magazine wants to have the conversation about making it right. I think there’s a place for that.

I’ve read some thought provoking and inspirational stories here, and it’s a good reminder that all the news ain’t bad.

Just go to https://yesmagazine.org sometime and have a look for yourself.

You’re welcome.

Break Time

 

I like to think of myself as, at least, a semi-informed chap, a guy who has some idea, anyway, of the goings on of the world. As such, I try to stay on top of the news of the day.

But I may have to rethink that.

I truly believe, if I try to keep up with the news these days, it may drive me to a nervous breakdown, or worse. The anger it stirs in me might blow out a blood vessel, I don’t know.

Because it is so overwhelmingly depressing. So bleak. So hopeless. It leaves me with a dim view of the present, and an even darker one of the future. And feeling helpless to do a damn thing about it.

And the sheer weight of it all becomes almost too much.

Am I the only one who feels like this?

 

Part of this, I understand, is due to the media’s propensity for focusing on the bad news. But, we’re to blame for that; bad news consistently pulls in good ratings, which are what the news business is all about. Like the philosopher Don Henley once said, we love dirty laundry.

I guess, if I had some other belief system, perhaps it wouldn’t get to me like it does. But I believe what I believe, although even that’s shaky these days. Maybe I’ve been wrong all this time. Don’t think so, but I’m not quite as sure as I once was. I don’t know…

I just know that, for the sake of my sanity, I don’t wanna know. My head just needs to be in the sand for awhile, good or bad.

But, if someone drops a bomb on us, can someone please give me a heads-up? Thanks.

 

The Pen Is Mightier Than the Camera

I love this woman.

She’s an anchor on an Australian newscast who realizes just a bit too late she’s back on the air. Her reaction is priceless:

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/apr/11/abc-newsreader-natasha-exelby-taken-off-air-after-television-blooper-goes-viral?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Just a little reminder for everyone (especially myself), we all goof up sometimes.

Only, it’s not usually as funny.

P.S. – I wouldn’t fly on United if I were you.

Health Update

As I’ve mentioned before, I suffer from clinical depression.

I also have a lot of anger simmering just below the surface.

Reading the news lately has only worsened those conditions.

Therefore, for the sake of my own mental health, I will have to refrain from keeping up with current events for the foreseeable future.

I don’t like that; I try to be an informed citizen of the world, with at least some awareness of what’s going on.

But, the more news I read, or see, or hear, the closer I believe I’m getting to a complete breakdown. Seriously.  😖

And, no, the news I view is not fake, despite testimony to the contrary. Oh, if only it was.

Someday, hopefully, I can channel all this anger into some constructive, positive action.

But, at this point, it just channels into more anger. And I simply can’t take it.

I know I need help. I’m gonna see about getting some.

Wish me luck.

And Now, the News

 

We live, we are told, in the Information Age.  At times, though, it can be more like the Misinformation Age. I’ll explain why, shortly.

When I was younger, we got our national/world news reports from the daily paper, or the radio, or the evening news on TV. The TV news was broadcast on one of three national networks. For 30 minutes a night. 

That was it.

Can you imagine? There was no 24-hour news channel. Now, we’re absolutely inundated with them.

We just had folks like Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley, John Chancellor, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and, on the public station, Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer, spending 30 minutes sharing the most newsworthy events of the day.

And we depended on them to inform us with the facts. Mr. Cronkite even attained the status of “The Most Trusted Man in America.”

Nowadays, we have access to news all day and all night, whenever we want it, from multiple outlets. Not just news, mind you, but in-depth analysis, panel discussions (which often become shouting matches), interviews, whatever else they can think of to fill 24 hours. Everything you ever wanted to know about a story, and so much more you never did.

Not to mention, all the news sites available on the Internet, pertaining to news in general or to specific subject matter and, of course, all these wonderful individuals who circulate all these falsehoods and rumors, passing them off as News. Chain emails are the absolute worst.

Now, I’m not saying information itself is a bad thing. Knowledge is power, after all. The problem, though, is when you have this many people telling the same stories, you can hear so many different versions. Different details are included, or ignored, according to the storyteller. And, while some news stations may aim for objectivity, others definitely imprint their ideology on what they report.

So, then, the question becomes, who do you believe?

 

Well, obviously, human nature leads us to believe who we want to. Most of us usually have our minds already made up on a particular subject, be it a person, issue, event, what have you, and we’re likely to apply that filter to the news we consume. Stories that may offer a different perspective than our own mostly get ignored, right? So, while we claim we want to be informed, chances are, we choose to believe only the information that reinforces our preconceptions.

Now, how useful is that?

I used to be, and mostly still am, insecure about expressing my opinion regarding people and events in the news when I’m with other people, because it always seems to me that the other people speak their opinions with so much conviction, supremely confident in their stance, so they must know what they’re talking about. I rarely feel such conviction, and for a long time, I thought it was because I was an indecisive, wishy-washy milquetoast.

The older I get, though, the more I think that rather, I’m more willing to look at both sides of a story, and recognize there are valid points to be made on either side. These days, I wonder if the people with the strong convictions attained them by looking at both sides before choosing one, (and good for them if they did)  or did they simply latch onto one side, with no consideration for the other, because it matched their own philosophy, and that’s that?

So, here’s a challenge for you. If you’re used to getting your news from the same source every time, consider trying a different one, one that may not align as closely with what you believe. I know that’s difficult; I don’t like doing it, either. But perhaps, it can cause you to look at a person, issue etc. in a way you haven’t before, and maybe reevaluate where you stand. That’s scary, I know; it means you might have to admit you were wrong about something and, if you’re like me, you HATE that!

On the other hand, it could lead to more productive conversation if we’re willing to challenge our preconceived notions and open our minds just a bit.

And, thinking optimistically, here, more productive conversation may even lead to more productive actions, and I think we can all agree, it’s long past time for those.

As Mr. Cronkite used to say, “And that’s the way it is.”