Why it’s time for an intervention from the relentless 24/7 media

“Violence is interesting which makes it a great obstacle to world peace and more thoughtful television programming.” –P.J. O’Rourke

Crisis, conflict and violence are the prevailing themes of our 24/7 media. If some stranger talked to us the way newscasters do, we’d tell them to go jump in a lake. Likewise, if our boyfriends made us feel the way headlines often do, our friends would line up for an intervention. ‘Toss the jerk out on his head,’ they’d say.”

Living in fear sells products, creates economies, elects politicians and keeps the flying monkeys on the job. But it’s not the truth about the world.

The reality is that the world is safer today than at anytime in history. The murder rate has plummeted in the last ten years. School shootings are no more prevalent than they were in “Leave it to Beaver” days. In fact, collaboration, goodness and, yes, love are the norm.

It’s just that the dominant paradigm, the one we’ve blindly bought into is “life sucks.” Any thought to the contrary is sidelined immediately by the 27-inch box in the corner of most of our living rooms (and kitchen and bedrooms). In fact, if you pay attention to the box–and most of us use it to form our view of reality–you have little choice but to conclude that murder, rape, war, and genocide is the human condition.

But if you look at it scientifically, the math just doesn’t work out. For every Koran-burning Terry Jones, there are 335,000 ministers who aren’t burning the Koran, who are espousing peace and love and tolerance. For every Scott Peterson, there’s 58.9 million husbands who didn’t murder their wives.

Every day, we’re spoon-fed “news” about missing children, identity theft, the mild-mannered neighbor who walks into work with an AK-47 and a bomb pack and blows up his boss and 27 co-workers.

Why do we think this is news?

On the same day (February 18, 2008), two-year-old Karissa Jones was abducted from her home in Louisville, Kentucky (by her father, as it turns out), there were 53,298 two-year-olds in Kentucky who didn’t get abducted, who were safe and sound at home, happily sipping apple juice from their Winnie-the-Pooh high chairs. Nearly a million children of all ages in Kentucky also didn’t get abducted that same day.

Why is Karissa the “news?”

News, by definition, is new information that teaches people about the world. Picking out what happened to two-one thousandth of one percent of the state’s two-year-olds is not an accurate picture of the world. If you ask me, what happened to the other 53,298 two-year-olds is a bigger story. Or at least it’s more realistic news.

What you see on the newscasts at night, what you read in the morning newspaper is not a realistic perception of our world. It’s an anomaly, an out-of-character thing that happened at one moment in time. News junkies pride themselves on believing they’re well-informed. Because they know what Ann Curry said about the latest layoffs at Boeing and what Morley Safer reported on the earthquake in New Zealand, they smugly believe they’re up on current events.

But do they know about the African-American postman in Germantown, Tennessee who jumped into a lake to save a couple whose brakes went out of their car when they were coming home from a hospital dialysis treatment? Do they know about the Marysville, Kansas attorney who flew, on his own dime, to Israel to donate a kidney to a 10-year-old he’d never met?

Thinking you’re informed because you watch the news is like thinking you understand a zoo when you’ve only seen the “Z” on the entryway sign. It’s not a complete picture, guys. It’s not even a good picture. I’m not going to argue that you can’t find the letter “Z” at any zoo. But if you try to convince me you’re a zoo expert or even that you have a faint understanding of what a zoo is all about because you’ve seen a “Z,” well, I’m sorry, I have no choice but to argue.

Attention-grabbing headlines and newscasts are nothing more than a sales tool, no more “factual” than “The Simpsons.” Isolated incidences get turned into frightening trends and our own thoughts have become conditioned to leap to the worst.

The mission of this blog is to free readers from the straitjacket of the relentless news media. Instead of asking “What’s wrong?,” a question we hear over and over again, I’d like to pose a simple question with the power to change the world: “What’s right?”

Pam Grout is the author of 18 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and the about to be released, Thank and Grow Rich: a 30-day Experiment in Shameless Gratitude and Unabashed Joy

81 Comments on “Why it’s time for an intervention from the relentless 24/7 media

  1. You are so right about the box that we get our reality from. I stopped watching TV in 2006 because of that. In-laws came for a bit and we got it turned on for them. After they left it was promptly turned off again. Keep up the good work!!!!
    Ordered your book ‘Thank and Grow Rich.’ Gratitude does not suck!

  2. Love this! ! Thank you!

    Marah Sent from my mobile device, please excuse type and grammatical errors.

  3. I could agree more, Pam, but we’d be here all day and most of tomorrow!

    Having worked in news media, I was beaten down on a daily basis by the ‘trends’ that were pushed based on isolated events, and worse, by the pervasive attitude that the only good news is bad news.

    What’s worse, listeners and viewers had been so trained to accept that as the norm, they often unleashed jaded, cynical tirades if truly good news did get reported. I’m thankful I got out of the business when I did.

    Thank you for consistently challenging the status quo and giving us these better perspectives.

    Lloyd

    • Better perspective is what we all need. Glad we both got out. I used to joke that I was a member of the world’s largest terrorist organization (AKA the news media)!

  4. Amen Sister! If only more people begin to choose to believe the fact that we manifest what we focus on. If only more people became aware of what they focus on. Why would anyone focus on what they didn’t want?
    I don’t pay attention to the “news” because it makes me feel bad and I don’t enjoy feeling bad. It doesn’t do anybody any good.
    This life, this earth is so beautiful and has the potential to be even more amazing than it is now!!! Let’s focus on that. And the fact that there are so many people that exist that want to help other people live healthier happier lives. We are social beings that enjoy sharing the experience of this life with others and we are all meant to be happy and feel loved.
    Thank you Pam, for sharing your wisdom and helping to change the world one reader at a time.

  5. I haven’t watched the news for years, even the weather report is wrong most of the time so why bother.

    • You’re right about the weather report which does just as much to scare us: take cover, take cover, big storms are coming…..and then oops!

  6. Thank you
    Thank you
    Thank you

    This is what I try to explain to my little grandchildren. I refuse to have any news on in the house when they come up to visit

    Ever!!!

    Bless you Pam !

  7. Amen ! We stopped watching the nightly thrill show years ago. And you know what! Our lives didn’t crumble into useless pieces. TV commercials have gone the same way, we no longer live in idiotville Joy

  8. i instantly knew since i was old enough to read that news is bad medicine, with that being said i so do love a great stories, we need an inspirational movie channel, thank you for making me feel like i hit a bullseye today in staying true to avoiding the news……Blessing Pam,

  9. Excellent! Thanks! Gary Date: Mon, 16 May 2016 17:07:05 +0000To: gornnert@msn.comFrom: comment-reply@wordpress.comSubject: [New post] Why it’s time for an intervention from the relentless 24/7 media

    WordPress.com

    psgrout posted: ““Violence is interesting which makes it a great obstacle to world peace and more thoughtful television programming.” –P.J. O’Rourke

    Crisis, conflict and violence are the prevailing themes of our 24/7 media. If some stranger talked to us the way ne”

  10. I read this and went, “I don’t know any of those people (doing awful things) she’s talking about… Yay!!” 🙂

    I’ve thought for years that what we call “news” is two parts terrorism (not ABOUT terrorism, although that too, but a kind of terrorism in and of itself), three parts gossip, and 99% unnecessary. Dr. Christiane Northrup — “Goddesses Never Age” — quoted a statistic on her recent PBS special about how a person today gets 250 times more information in one day than a person living in the year 1900 got in a whole year. I don’t know how they calculated that, but it’s all the more astonishing when you stop to realize that people in 1900 **got along just fine** without knowing nearly so much (and so instantaneously) about who was hurting whom anywhere but their own hometowns. Never mind all the “celebrity news” — oxymoron, anyone? — about what famous person is allegedly going where, wearing what, or what-ing whom…

    If we’re going to call it “news”, then in addition to being unbiased and accurate, it darn well ought to be NECESSARY, right?

    Thanks, Pam! Love this one! Keep on!

    • P.S. — What might happen if we all (with Pam’s permission, of course) printed this out and sent it to our local news outlets en masse? Along, perhaps, with a copy of the quote from the Pope asking the news to report more positive stories?

      (Also, my first sentence should have read, “I don’t know ABOUT any of those people” — as in, I’m so far out of the news loop that I’ve never heard of their names or deeds. Not as in, I don’t know any of them personally. Which I don’t, but that’s hardly the point. 🙂 )

      • I just noticed your P.S. What a great idea! And I’m thrilled to hear that the pope has asked for more positive stories! This new pope is fabulous!

    • Yay for you, for not knowing of those people! And you’re right about the news being terrorism. I used to joke that, as a reporter, I was a member of the world’s largest terrorist organization.

  11. Thank you for this post. Nowadays we are forced to live in this hideous cloud of despair and negativity. Even though at our house we don’t watch the news, everyone else does and it has become like a big mind controller in society. The other negative mind control these days is the health/medical preoccupation with the assumption that you had better be very careful because it is almost impossible to stay well…eat this, do this exercise, you must have these tests, etc etc. When will we ever learn that it is our own minds that call the shots. That is the challege…to understand how your own mind is looking at life, and to make appropriate improvements along the way. Thanks for highlighting such a major issue.

  12. I totally agree. We just get sucked in and it in turn sucks us dry. I’m off to do Tai Chi — and my mind cannot be on anything else!!!! Thanks for great post!!

  13. Hear that giant clicking sound? Would the last person in the news room turn off the lights. Just a fantasy of mine….

  14. You have such a way with words, Pam. My sentiments exactly. Only I couldn’t have said it so well. 🙂 I don’t watch the news. I find it interesting that most mysteries are stories where someone is murdered and the hunt is on to find the killer. I want a good mystery about something not so unkind. Giving that serious thought here.

  15. Pam I totally agree with you. I appreciate you writing this with your marvelous wit and clear headed thinking. Yes, there is a lot of great, fabulous, wonderful and love filled things happening in the world! What are we choosing to see!?!

  16. So nicely stated! I meet or talk to the loveliest people day in and day out and know for a fact that there is a lot of love in this world!

  17. I wholeheartedly agree with your post today about news media.Thank you for your insightful commentary on this topic. Nearly 15 or more years ago a television station in Philadelphia began airing an evening newscast at 4 p.m. that concluded at 6:30 p.m. In the blink of any eye, stories that were insignificant became lead headlines (“film at 6”) that were repeated in every half-hour segment. In fact, many astute business owners realized that if they issued a press release with information on some aspect, unique or not, of their business, they could get a quick segment (think free PR) on the nightly news. Fast forward to the inception of CNN, HLN, MSNBC, etc. to an era where 24 hours of “news” must be found to fill the dead air between the commercials. As you so aptly note, most of these news organizations zero in on the anomaly–not the norm. Our worldwide culture has accepted this as factual and normal when it is always biased in some way. Having given up watching TV news, seldom hearing news on the radio, and seldom reading newspapers, I’m much happier than when I tried to “keep up with current events.” I find that I will still hear about the “big” stories via friends, social media, etc. It’s great in that your writing hopefully encourages people to think more critically about what they are hearing in the daily news.

  18. Ignorance is bliss, as the saying goes and ignoring the news IS definitely a way of being in a state of bliss, of joy, of gratitude instead of allowing worry and fear to invade your mind and heart. Great article Pam!

  19. Dear Pam,

    I totally agree with your today’s message.

    When I was younger, I asked once my father, a succesful journalist, whetehr a newspaper reporting only good news could exist.

    His reply: it would close down the very next day.

    Since then, I ofter try to think of the many good things that happen every second in our world (as you state as well)

    and I try to get some optimistic feeling out of this.

    Keep well.

    Dimitris Kambanis

    Στις 2016-05-16 20:07, Pam Grout έγραψε:

    > psgrout posted: “”Violence is interesting which makes it a great obstacle to world peace and more thoughtful television programming.” –P.J. O’Rourke Crisis, conflict and violence are the prevailing themes of our 24/7 media. If some stranger talked to us the way ne” > >

  20. Thank You for this nice blog.
    I felt happiness and amazement while reading it.
    Wonderfully described….
    Thanks

  21. The local radio station I listen to has a regular news feature called “the upside” where they feature positive news stories. You most certainly help put things in perspective. And this, is why I don’t pay too much attention to mass media’s reporting of news. Can you say agenda setting?

  22. I’m so glad you wrote this! I am a former radio newscaster who walked away from the industry in total disgust for the exact reasons you describe. I remember many arguments with News Directors about the content of the newscasts. Although I didn’t think of the broader picture at the time, I was constantly asking, “what makes you think this is news? Shouldn’t news be information that our listeners can find useful?” Of course I never received an answer that made sense. Now, over thirty years later, I don’t look at or listen to newscasts. I read headlines on the internet and i am aware of what’s going on locally and globally. But I will not allow the rubbish they call “news” to contaminate my mind. Dr. Wayne Dyer always taught, “What you focus on, expands” and I am ever mindful of that.

  23. Hi Pam, Thank you so much for this post. I am struck by how the news media is able to sap all of the joy out of a story when we know that tragedy often contains not only suffering, but also moments of light. In “On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings“ William James echoes Robert Louis Stevenson and writes, “To miss the joy is to miss all”. If we are blind to all but the pain, and we miss the beauty, then we misunderstand reality.

    As an aside, I really enjoy your work! In fact, I am currently conducting the energy experiments from “E-Squared” and writing about them on my site: https://selfhelpsucker.wordpress.com. I hope you will check it out!

  24. That’s programming for you. Something meant to rob the happiness of the people. The right thing to do is to focus on the big picture, that is, all the stories are not being reported on the news in addition to the so-called news.

  25. As a journalist, I beg to differ. What makes it news is that it does deviate from the norm. That it is unusual. As the saying goes, a dog bites a man isn’t news, a man bites a dog, is. So all the ‘bad” stuff is not how most of us live our lives – which is a good thing, and I know the point of what you’re saying. But news isn’t meant to teach us how the world works. For that, we rely on philosophy, religion and spirituality with a little bit of science thrown in for good measure. Thanks for sharing, though!

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