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Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Good News Network

     An article by the BBC published online last year asked the question, "Why are newspapers and TV broadcasts filled with disaster, corruption and incompetence?" and the answer according to psychologist Tom Stafford, "It may be because we’re drawn to depressing stories without realizing."
     When you read the news, sometimes it can feel like the only things reported are terrible, depressing events. Why does the media concentrate on the bad things in life, rather than the good? And what might this depressing slant say about us, the audience? "Many people often say that they would prefer good news: but is that actually true?" — Tom Stafford It isn't that these are the only things that happen. Perhaps journalists are drawn to reporting bad news because sudden disaster is more compelling than slow improvements. Or it could be that newsgatherers believe that cynical reports of corrupt politicians or unfortunate events make for simpler stories. But another strong possibility is that we, the readers or viewers, have trained journalists to focus on these things. Many people often say that they would prefer good news: but is that actually true? Read the article
     If you really do prefer good news there is the Good News Network. This website is a clearinghouse for the gathering and dissemination of positive news stories from around the world. The site says, "While it’s important for us to remain informed citizens...depressing stories can create a perception of a ‘crime- and greed-filled community’ out of proportion with reality. People need a well-balanced media diet, but broadcasters serve too much junk food — local TV news in the U.S., especially."
     So, the Good News Network was created in order to report on outstanding citizen action, innovative solutions to the world’s problems, and to shatter negative stereotypes in the public regarding race, governments, politicians, religion, corporations, Hollywood, public schools, and inner cities. The site features links to stories around the world and original news articles by the Good News Network editors, and contributing authors and columnists. Readers can also submit stories. 
     Hollywood?  Can anything good come out of Hollywood? In a Washington Times article back in 2012, columnists Dan Gainor wrote, "If you are a Hollywood star, you can do drugs, get arrested, cheat on your spouse or say foul things about women, and Hollywood opens its heart to you. Even child rapist Roman Polanski got a standing ovation during the Oscars. Dare to call out the disgusting CBS show "Two and a Half Men" though, and your days in Tinseltown are numbered. The entertainment industry can take just about anything except honesty." 
     I have never watched the show but according to the article the program consists of "juvenile sex jokes filled with every kind of sexual misbehavior and innuendo imaginable. Prostitution, lesbianism, sex in every location imaginable, illegal drug use and mocking of religious faith fill the screen and millions of American homes each week." 
     Throw in fake-staged-phony reality programs, talent contests with little or no talent, false history on history programs, fake documentaries...sounds about right for Hollywood. Still, occasionally the people inhabiting Hollywood do some things that are decent.  Like the "the Bieb" picking up the dinner tab for New York City police officers or Jay Leno surprising a veteran with a hot new car or Barbara Walters shelling out $10 million to a New York hospital for a new care facility.  
     In any case if you need a break from the depressing top news stories of the day, try the Good News Network.

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