There comes a point when the media’s approach to reporting is slander.
The dictionary defines “slander” as “the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.”
I would add “or a nation’s reputation.”
When giving information turns negative, pessimistic, condemning, unkind, insensitive, and fatalistic – when it broadcasts a sense of hopelessness about a people or nation, it is often slander. No one and no nation is without hope. Moreover, fueling vacuous theories, objectifying people on the altar of “news,” and staring heartlessly at the suffering of others, strips life and truth from the borders of souls. It wears on you, and on the listener, and greater than all that, IT WEARS ON THE SOUL OF THE NATION AND ITS PEOPLE.
This is unjust, unkind, and unacceptable. We assert our own priorities of knowing statistics above the day-to-day wellbeing and even LIFE of humans around the world. We could easily invest our efforts elsewhere. We could think together about solutions, real solutions. We could speak well of those people, highlight their strengths, celebrate their successes. We could look with love.
How would you feel if it seemed like the entire world had condemned your nation to a future of war, death, and misery? How would you feel if every night on the news there was another report about one of your personal failings?
~~ Today, Sam really blew it on his latest deal at the office. This creates a 7/10 failure likelihood for Sam. Will he ever get it together? (More at 10pm) ~~
Imagine you are Sam.
Well, we do that very thing about people and nations continuously! For example, we speak about Iraq cloistered in dire straits and endless factions of fighting. We broadcast these images. We drag the name of this nation through the mud. We don’t look harder for the successes. We don’t even bother to really look at the underlying issues (cycles of fear etc). This is not okay. It’s not loving. It’s not helpful. It’s not humane.
Yet, we can change this cultural trend. It starts with you. Learn some positive facts about places mentioned on the news. Share those with others. Don’t spread fear and hopelessness. Look for the pocket of light. Share that.
The article, “Religion Builds Bridges in Ethnically Split Cyprus” has a marvelous example of modeling possibility for the Middle East.
“We have to give a good example to the Middle East,” Atalay told The Associated Press. “This is our gift to the Middle East.”
What is YOUR gift to the Middle East?
It can be as simple as learning a positive fact and sharing it, or turning off the news when it begins to pour out negative reports, or asking a Middle Eastern friend about his/her experience, or praying for the leaders in the Middle East, or giving toward an organization that is directly loving the Middle East, or joining a group like Hope Iraq that purposefully shares good stories. Whatever it is, your choice toward kindness matters.
We can bring healing to the world. Much of that begins with how we talk about it.
Instead of bad reports, share the goodness of a place!
Turn slander into grandeur.