A Reason to Smile

Information is good, propaganda is not.

Question submitted via Formspring:

“Seeing a horrible event on the news can make people really sad, but it can also inspire other people to take action. So is mass media diffusion of horrifying and unjust realities more of a good thing or a bad thing?”

On a recent episode of my radio show, Rise UP with B. Dave Walters, we talked about getting over Daddy Issues, dealing with REJECTION, how to change *anything* instantly, and many other things.  In the Q&A section of the show, this was one of the questions we talked about, but I’d like to say a bit more about it now.

We have talked about the media a few times on my radio shows and in my videos, so first let me ask: have you ever heard the saying ‘if it bleeds, it leads’?
Let me give you an example:  if you are walking by the news stand, and you see the paper says “sunny and warm this weekend,” you’ll probably keep on walking.  But, if it says “terrible weather ahead,” you’ll stop and buy it.   The reason why that is, is that things that scare us get more attention than things that make us feel good; it’s a sad reality that people tend to pay more attention to bad news than good news.

Again, think about how easy it is to dismiss someone telling you that you look nice, versus someone telling you your butt looks too big!

Add to that, the media is no longer concerned with accurately and impartially reporting the facts; they are concerned with selling advertising.  That means they slant their stories to be attractive to the type of person they want to watch in order to sell advertizing to that particular group and demographic.  So don’t feel bad if the news scares you; it is designed to scare you!

So understanding that is why the media ‘diffuses such horrifying and unjust realities,’ is that good or bad?
The reality is, it’s neither good nor bad; it just is.

Don’t be fooled into thinking the world is such a terrible place, in many very important ways life is actually getting better:
Consider some of the report’s figures on what has happened just in the last 25 years:

• The average life expectancy worldwide rose from 64 years in the mid-1980s to 68 years today.

• Infant mortality worldwide has fallen from nearly 70 deaths per 100,000 people to 40 deaths today.

• Poverty, defined by the percentage of people living on less than $1.25 a day, fell from 43 percent of the world population in the mid-1980s to 23 percent today.

• The percentage of the world population with access to water rose from 75 percent to more than 86 percent.

• Secondary school enrollment rose from 45 percent in the mid-1980s to nearly 70 percent today.

• The number of major armed conflicts declined from 37 in the mid-1980s to 26 today.

The bottom line is this: like James Arthur Ray said in The Secret, you need to be informed, but you don’t have to be inundated.  Pick a few news outlets that you trust, and recognize that every ‘crisis’ they report is probably not so bad; they over exaggerate because there is a lot of money in scaring the hell out of you.

If you are the type of person that can see the suffering of others, and it drives you into depression, then focus on those news outlets (mostly online) that focus on positive, happy stories.  If you are the type that seeing people in need spurs you into action, then focus on those type of outlets that focus on how to solve problems, rather than trying to convince you the world is ending…those are also mostly online.

I can tell you this for sure, though: there is a LOT you can do to help your fellow human beings right now from where you are.  Your money goes a LONG way to help people all over the world, as long as you are spending it in the right way:

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B. Dave Walters

Writer, Life Coach, and Talk Radio Host

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