Let’s play a little game. I want you to read the following excerpt and think in your head the emotions that rise up in you.
Baltimore: Looting, angry teens, angrier moms, burning, violence, racist cops, incompetent mayor, riots, curfew, angry protesters, fire, ruble, ashes, tear gas, rocks…
How about now?
Baltimore: Peace, helping hands, concerned policemen, people standing up for other people, civilians protecting cops, veteran standing in the crossfire to end the violence, a mayor following protocol, cops doing their jobs, prayer, people coming together for the common good, civil disobedience, enemies working together, concerned mother, hurt.
Two totally different feelings, right?
Both paragraphs are reporting the same thing. Both are giving some words that explain what’s happening in Baltimore. It’s called ‘tone’, a literary technique used by writers that creates emotions in the reader. It’s intentional.
Now, I’m not there, so I’m basing my ideas loosely on videos and news clips that I’ve seen. Many of these have been reported by CNN or CBS because that’s the only news I watch, but when I did my Google search, I found other videos that were shot by people who are in the trenches. Some have gone viral, but none are making the morning news. Why?
Because the media wants to make a ‘good story’ that sells, which is ironically the bad story. We, as American citizens, will be fed garbage. We will be fed half truths- and those are lies. If you only tell a part of your story, important details being left out, you are often leaving the audience with a warped sense of what happened.
Please, media, I beg you: Tell us the good. Tell us what’s happening that warms our hearts. Tell us that people are inherently good and that they outpower the bad in humanity. Report to our homes what we need to hear. Give us faith in our country. Help us see the power of peace.
The media has caused this influx of racial tension, not racial injustice. I’m not saying there are not dirty cops, I’m not saying there are not racist cops, I’m not saying there are not broken procedures, I’m not saying there is not a problem with race in our country.
What I am saying is this: News networks took a story, and exploded it for everyone to get all worked up so they would tune into their network. There are not many journalists who work to unveil injustice, just to exploit it. 24 hour news networks need stories and they make money by airing the same story over and over again to create a hype, a mass hysteria if you must, and they create calamity.
Case in point: Something as simple as a stupid underinflated football caused a media circus. The story ‘leaked’ without all of the facts. It was reported to the public before the investigation was over (wait, is the investigation over?) to create speculation. There are some powerful speakers and writers who do an excellent job at creating a situation where the audience can infer and assume what’s being said without saying it.
They have an immense power in our country. They are in control of our points of view. They need to #stopthenegativity and report what we need: Hope.
I’m begging you, news networks, journalists, reporters, producers, actors, camera people, and anyone else involved in developing these stories, walk around, Humans of New York style, and find the good. Exploit the good. Give us hope.
Interview the peaceful protestors. Tape the singing. Interview the police officer who is empathizing with protesters, glorify the positivity. Give us hope. We need hope. We need to see the good in us. We need to see that even though an injustice happened, the mayor and investigators are doing their job, don’t try to trip them up in an interview to make them look like an idiot- ask for the truth, let them give the truth, and wait it out. Wait for the facts. Do not report these half truths and half facts anymore. You’re being dishonest.
Help stop the racial tension by showing different races working together for the common good. Show police officers working to put an end to drugs and violence. Glorify our cops, not our criminals. They need our support. It’s a hard time to be a cop and I don’t want my local police man to have to stop and think in a high pressure situation whether they’re being racist if they are protecting themselves.
If you take issue with police officers, by all means sign up. They are heroes not villains. They are also humans and make mistakes. Some of them do wrong knowingly, but I have to believe that law enforcement officers do not go into the field to kill people from another race. They join the force to serve and protect. They do not get paid well and they risk their lives for you. If you take issue with our nation’s police force: get off your duff and join it.
In the mean time, let’s look for the good today. Don’t sugar coat the bad. And please, do not twist things to make a story.
In the words of Jon Stewart: “Stop hurting America.”