“You can’t believe everything that you read in the newspapers.” I don’t even know who originally said it; I have heard it all my life, but I never knew that it was true until something happened to a close family member. It was very serious and when the nice reporter got through it was a totally different story.
Now as far as television is concerned,, they are definitely going to present the “bad” news. Yes, they do present a few good things especially near holidays; but it is a off balanced scale with the negative stuff given the advantage. I won’t use the word edge because that would imply that it was close and it isn’t.
We have to ask ourselves: “What effect does media negativity have on average people?” Well, ultimately there will be some effect and it will affect different people in different ways. A dear friend of mine became bombarded with the negative stuff on television, in the papers and on the Internet and mixed it with their other challenges and had a breakdown. Some become phobic, fearful, and I am sure that the list of symptoms is endless. Viewing and reading negative media can promote addictive or even compulsive behavior. Unfortunately, for many it becomes a compass for what is acceptable versus what is morally right.
Probably the worst way in which I’ve seen some of the media act and I question the word ethically is when they pounce on an inflammatory story. They did that with Tiger Woods and possibly inadvertently contributed to destroying his marriage. I remember when they reported on the investigation on the televangelists ; but never did a follow-up. I have seen too many stories thrown out to the wolves with no compassion or follow-up.
The media is going to be judged. Of course, not all the media; but their standards have dropped and those who are in error need to repent and get it right. Let’s look at what the bible says:
Ephesians 4:29-32 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
Proverbs 16:27-28 A worthless man digs up evil, While his words are like scorching fire. A perverse man spreads strife, And a slanderer separates intimate friends. (Am I saying they slander people. No, I’m not…but coming close is murky waters)
Proverbs 20:19 He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip.
Proverbs 25:9-10, 23 Argue your case with your neighbor, And do not reveal the secret of another,Or he who hears it will reproach you, And the evil report about you will not pass away. The north wind brings forth rain, And a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance. (Backbiting is revealing the secrets of another, causing strife.)
Proverbs 26:20-28 For lack of wood the fire goes out, And where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.
21 Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife.
22 The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels, And they go down into the innermost parts of the body.
1 Timothy 5:13 At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips [whisperers] and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention.