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Jan. 30th, 2010



I don't watch the news. I scan headlines online. I pick and choose what I want to read in-depth. And it's hard.

Part of my job involves being well-informed. I do research for people who write about the cutting edge legal and business issues of the day. So I deal with the news as much as I can bear. Which isn't much.

It's incredibly hard not to grow cynical. The news is designed to keep you feeling fearful and inadequate.

But the world is not that actually that way. Life is good and getting better all the time.

I posted a rant about John Edwards' infidelity. I was uncomfortable posting it, because I felt like I succumbed to cynicism and bitterness. Heroes fall. No one is perfect, and we shouldn't expect them to be. Like hungry dogs, the media wait for people to fall from grace to tear them to shreds. John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer, Tiger Woods. It's not new – Bill Clinton, New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey, Rudy Guiliani, Hugh Grant, Kobe Bryant. The list rolls on like Santa's.

It doesn't mean people in positions of power and influence shouldn't be accountable for their actions. It's just whether we choose to explode people's lowest private moments as what we want to remember them for.

So, after ranting and feeling bad about it, I needed to find something more optimistic. To hear it from the news, everyone's screwing around and killing one another.

And it's simply not true.

For instance, despite the economic downturn, the Great Recession, whatever you choose to call it, the crime rate in the United States has dropped. Unless you actually caught that story, you wouldn't know it from the news. Would you?

I also found a news story recently that made me feel better about marriage. Cindy McCain has come out opposing Proposition 8, the hateful California ban on gay marriage. Her husband, failed president candidate and Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, has been one of the ban's most visible proponents. (McCain's daughter has also come out against the ban.)

There's not a question here of any infidelity here. They just disagree. It's good to see a relationship where the partners can disagree, especially in a public debate. She's using his prominence to promote her beliefs. They haven't had bitter fights in public. They apparently have agreed to disagree.

I approve. It's healthy for couples to disagree now and again. And I'm more impressed because McCain's generation is even less likely to publicly air this kind of disagreement. The Senator would be out in front of the microphone, and his wife would either be behind him, silent, or else just not present. I'm not a fan of Mr. McCain's politics, but I do respect him and his wife for standing up for their individual beliefs.


Hateful, angry people tend to be loud and vocal and make better television. Sex and violence sell advertising during the nightly news. It all makes the world seem ugly. And it's easy to succumb to it. The other day, I did.

We forget the good stuff.



[Posted for LJ Idol Season 6, Topic 12 - Current Events]

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
tigrkittn
Jan. 31st, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
Excellent thoughts! I haven't read or watched news regularly in many years, exactly because it's all so negative- and my thought is generally, what good does it do me to know these things? They don't affect my life directly except to contribute to negativity and pessimism. I'm so glad you found the good stuff!
thndrstd
Feb. 2nd, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you, and thanks for reading and commenting.
onda_bianca
Jan. 31st, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC)
For some reason, John Edward's affair bothers me and none of the others really do. I think it's the whole cancer thing...
thndrstd
Feb. 2nd, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm definitely not happy about the affair. The whole situation is just horrible.

Thanks for reading and commenting.
plastrickland23
Feb. 4th, 2010 02:39 am (UTC)
yep.....It's the cancer thing. P.
cacophonesque
Feb. 1st, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
This was excellent. You're absolutely right about the media perpetuating fear and inadequacy. And there are good things going on--people choose to make the world better every day, but we don't often hear about them because the news is too preoccupied with fallen "heroes".
thndrstd
Feb. 2nd, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
Absolutely. Thanks so much for reading and commenting and confirming.
shadowwolf13
Feb. 2nd, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
The media lives on fear and scare tactics. I'm glad more people are starting to realized that and are looking for more correct information.
thndrstd
Feb. 2nd, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)
I've known this for a long time. I agree people are wising up. I just hope it translates into something more. And soon.

Thanks for reading.
finding_helena
Feb. 2nd, 2010 06:08 am (UTC)
Very true. I tend to avoid the news for precisely these reasons. Maybe I just need to subscribe to the thndrstd happy news digest. :P
thndrstd
Feb. 2nd, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC)
I wish there was a thndrstd happy news digest, not that I'm not happy; I am. But hearing about my happy life would get pretty boring.

Finding this many positive stories took more effort than I expected.

Thanks for reading.
(Deleted comment)
thndrstd
Feb. 2nd, 2010 07:07 pm (UTC)
That's interesting that the instructors will even admit that it's less about import than about selling papers, despite some of their high-falutin' ideas.

Thanks for reading.
karmasoup
Feb. 2nd, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
I tend to avoid the news, for the reasons you described.
teaberryblue
Feb. 3rd, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)
I hate that our media which is supposed to be a service to help keep us informed has turned into a business to keep us scared.

I was a little uncomfortable though with the other men in that list being compared to Kobe Bryant, because while we may not ever know exactly what happened, there's the potential that he raped someone-- he's even admitted that he may have misunderstood and thought there was consent when there wasn't. The others may be unfaithful spouses, but that's not the same as rape.

That being said, I agree with you that the situation with Edwards bothers me more, too. I think part of it is that he's lied about it, keeps lying about it, and keeps making up new lies about it. In some ways I could sympathize with him more, actually, because of his wife's cancer because I know that having a loved one hospitalized and so ill can take a toll on your emotions and your judgment-- yes, in some ways it seems more callous, but I completely fell apart emotionally when my brother was hospitalized, and people do weird things when they fall apart. But he's been lying, and making up new lies, for so long...even Bill Clinton had the wherewithal to admit to it once someone explained to him what sex was.
thndrstd
Feb. 3rd, 2010 10:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading. I appreciate your thoughtful comments.

You're right that Kobe is a different story. I was more or less just referring to the media shining a spotlight on people's private lives and the mistakes they make in them.

You never know how you'll respond to something until it happens to you. I fell apart when my mother passed away, but in an entirely different way than I ever could have guessed. Emotional stress makes us do strange things.

Thanks again.
plastrickland23
Feb. 4th, 2010 02:37 am (UTC)
Yes we do...forget about all the good stuff. I respect these multi-opinioned families, where they don't all act as "sheepole". I like keeping it real.
P.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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