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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Good News Is Not News

I'm reading a book called The Rock That Is Higher: Story as Truth by Madeline L'Engle, and she said something that got my attention. She was talking about how seldom we see anything positive on a news broadcast. Usually it's all about crimes, or tragedies, or unpleasant trends and statistics. If there's nothing heinous enough locally, the local newscasters will tell you about the crimes and tragedies in other states or other countries... they're not particular. We rarely see stories about, to quote Mrs. L'Engle, "love, and marital fidelity, and friendship, and compassion, and concern." "Good news is not news" is part of one sentence in that paragraph, meant to indicate something negative about society... but when I read that sentence, I thought... GOOD! I'm so glad that good things are so commonplace that they are not newsworthy. Every day the sun comes up... it never makes it on the news. It is commonplace. I take a shower every morning... thank GOODNESS that one never made it onto the news! Common things are not newsworthy. A man helping his brother out of a financial jam. An older man stopping to help a young woman out by pulling jumper cables out of his trunk. A little girl helping her crying friend up from a fall on the playground. The men and women working day in, day out in soup kitchens and fire stations and police squad cars and free medical clinics and all the other places where people help out other people. If those things were unusual, they would be newsworthy. Let's pray that we never see the day where the news items are all about the one guy in town who did something nice for someone else, because everybody else was doing bad stuff all day long. It might make for a rosy newscast, but it would make for a lousy life.

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