Each morning, I awaken at 4:30-5:00. My morning routine is to turn on the coffee pot, let the dogs out, and then watch the news until it is time to rouse The Bean to get ready for the day. As I sat watching the news this morning, I thought to myself, why do I subject myself to this negativity first thing in the morning? Seriously, today’s headlines consisted of a couple who abused and starved their six-year-old daughter, a Chihuahua that was abandoned in the freezing cold, two shootings, a stabbing, a deadly crash, chaos on Capital Hill, the sentencing of a mother for her lack of responsibility for her son’s mental health that resulted in a school shooting where four young people lost their lives, and weather emergencies across the country. When I write that and look at it, it is exhausting. That dear reader, is what I put into my head first thing in the morning, every morning. No wonder people feel overwhelmed, pessimistic, hopeless, grumpy, and sour.
This led me to question why we do not have a choice regarding what news we receive. If one chooses to channel surf the news, one finds the same stories on each and every channel. Why is there not a “good news” channel? Why isn’t there a channel that only reports the good things happening worldwide? Wouldn’t it be lovely to begin one’s day with positivity? I would love to sit and watch news that makes me feel good and give me hope for humanity rather than sit and marinate in all that is wrong with the world while I drink my morning coffee. Indeed, there must be more people out there than just me who feel this way.
I would love to have a channel I could turn to at any given time and be flooded with all the good happening around us. I would be thoroughly invested in stories about people positively impacting their communities. Tell me stories about businesses working to improve their communities and help others. Tell me about politicians who are making a difference in a good way. Tell me about parents who are going above and beyond to make this world better for their children. Give me tales of people who are saving animals and spreading kindness. Give me stories about good samaritans, groups doing positive activities, and budding industries working to help the environment.
Perhaps we should try to sensationalize the good stories around us so they are more interesting than all the negative stories that are headline grabbers. Good news can be interesting, too. Actually, good news could be more entertaining and headline-worthy than bad news. I can think of a lot of good people I would much rather watch and listen to than serial killers, drug lords, cult leaders, and crime bosses. As I sit thinking about this, the news reflects our society. We are desensitized to the bad because we are constantly bombarded by it via the media. When one becomes desensitized, one continues to look for the thrill factor. What gives us a thrill as a society is outlandish, insane, divisive behavior. The media groom us to focus on the negative and the worst of the worst to win the ratings war. Sigh. People are exhausting.
Perhaps Hallmark should start a news channel where the only endings to the stories are good endings. The weather report will only include the positive outcome of snow, rain, flooding, and sunshine. Sunshine-megaton will show us how the sun impacts the flora in our area. That would be a nice change to Snow-megaton, where ten people froze to death. Rather than report all the crime and destruction happening in our communities, the focus will be on rebuilding and beautifying the community. The main headline could be how politicians work together to stop the next crisis rather than focus on idiots that make our country appear to be ruled by circus clowns. Tell us stories about animal rescues doing well and right by innocent creatures. Tell us stories about doctors, nurses, teachers, coaches, case workers, and business owners who are passionate about what they do and how they change lives. Give us stories about all the fantastic things our young people are doing to improve their schools, communities, and the world. Tell us stories about athletes who are doing great things off the field. There is a lot of good in this world if we just look for it.
The problem, dear reader, is we fail to look for it. Hearing a story about a ghastly, gruesome crime is more sensational. It pulls at our heartstrings to see a tiny dog abandoned in the cold, cowering in a corner. More people will tune in if the report is on the absolute worst of the worst. It’s a problem that is much bigger than you or me. It stems from greed…which, in my humble opinion, is the root of all that is bad. It’s about ratings wars, money, and power. Perhaps if we all tuned out and deflated the media moguls, things would change. I don’t have any answers. The only thing I have control over is my reaction. Once again, I am going on a news hiatus. I choose not to react, tune out, and not be part of what irritates me. It’s all I can do. I simply prefer not to participate. After all, I am the captain of this ship.
On this lovely, sunny, unseasonably warm February day, stay safe, be smart, fill your head with positive information, take control of what goes into your thoughts, and keep washing your hands.