John Wooden, one of the most successful coaches of all time, is quoted as saying, “If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.” I think this quote just about sums up one of the biggest changes I’d like to see in the U.S. – a more responsible media. When you turn on the news, it’s hard to find a positive story that leaves you feeling hopeful about the world - it’s usually some breaking news about potential wars, viruses, government corruption and scandals, etc. To be fair, this stuff is out there and it deserves to have a light shined on it, but I think that the media has a responsibility to be more balanced in their approach to spreading information.
With regard to politics, if the media continuously focuses on sensational news, then that’s the type of stuff that will enter into the national conversation. And when gridlock and dysfunction and political gaffes are central to the discussion, the national conversation slows to a crawl and most signs of progress and meaningful change are hard to see. Who would want to stick their neck out if they’re just going to get burned for it?
The whole thing is a complex issue. The press should be free to write about any issue, but I believe that this freedom comes with some responsibility, especially because with the Internet, news is so pervasive. I think one goal of journalism in general is to assist society, to keep it functioning properly. At times this means exposing corruption and shortcomings, or informing the public about a potential threat. In general though, I think this is a duty to present a clear overall picture of the world. Ideally, this clearer picture would lead to a better informed audience that has the means and the will to act.