Thursday, January 21, 2010

Greater Accountability in the Media

I have decided to write my first blog on something that I am highly irritated about as of late. Those of you who know me will not be shocked! While many of my blogs will probably be about things I dislike, I promise to balance it all out with warm, fuzzy inspirational pieces as well.

Recently our local newspaper did a three piece segment on my home church. I will not post the articles here since I feel they are not worth spreading around. I can't say I was surprised at the obvious bias and agenda to make us all look like a bunch of cultic cooks, but I was outraged. I can't believe how our entire media system has been reduced to gossip, hearsay, and ignorant observations just to make a few dollars, not to mention destroying some reputations and lives in the process.

It isn't just about my home church. It's about real people, real families that are slandered every day in the newspaper, magazines and nightly news. Why does the press feel entitled to scrutinize people simply because they make money or are in some kind of form of leadership in this country? When did opinion get to be "news"? Is there such a thing as unbiased journalism anymore? Can you find it anywhere?

I love the fact that we have freedom in this country. But with high levels of freedom come high levels of responsibility. That is something as a culture we haven't quite figured out yet. I feel the solution to this mess would be to clearly separate opinion from facts. I don't know exactly how we could pull this off, but for starters we could require that organizations with the words "news" in them to learn how to report accurate, unbiased facts and information. Let opinions, partial facts or rumors be reserved for what we used to call "gossip rags".

As many of you know (or will soon find out if you don't), I am not just one to sit and talk about what I view is injustice. I am a woman of action! It starts with the little things people. Don't ever think that there is nothing you can do. There is always something you can do. One of my favorite quotes is by Martin Luther King Jr. - "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." So what can you do? Well for starters you can be a voice. You can ask questions. You can write letters to your editors. You can use your vote to help shape our culture. You can use your social networks to spread truth. You can raise up your children to understand what freedom and responsibility look like. You can write books! You can write articles, you can write blogs. You can refuse to watch or refuse to buy anything that does not line up with your core values. Step by step and little by little things like that cause what Malcom Gladwell calls "tipping points". All major change and reformation that has ever happened for good or bad has been an accumulation of little things. So don't ever think there is nothing you can do. There is always something you can do!