How many times have you seen a reporter shove a mike into the face of someone who had just experienced some tragedy and then ask that absolutely inane question: “How does that make you feel?”
After a tornado obliterated the person’s house, the reporter wanted to know how losing all of his worldly possessions made him feel. After someone’s child had been kidnapped, the reporter wants the parent(s) to tell the world HOW they feel about their loss. The man who loses his job due to a plant closing is asked by the “inquisitive” reporter how he feels now that he can no longer support his family.
We’re not dummies. We understand the rationale: the reporter and his newspaper, television show, magazine want to see some emotion. The greater the emotional response, the better the ratings or readership. But guess what? We already know that people experiencing a tragedy do NOT feel very good about it. We know they are suffering. We know grief when we see it. So do we really need the reporter to draw it out time after time?
No, we do not.
The media has an enormous capacity to cause positive effects in our day-to-day lives. Every time they bring us the news, they can inject decency into their presentation. And if you, me and the guy next door urge and applaud that, then they’ll also have their ratings.
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