GOOD NEWS IS BAD NEWS
No one wants good news. Put another way, major media do not broadcast positive stories. I hold in my hand, three handouts from the J Street Conference in December 2022, representing Combatants for Peace, Taghyeer-- Palestinians Organizing Palestinians, and Project Rozana. We read that Palestinians killed so many Israelis, and the Israeli army bombed a section of Gaza City. Few people--Christian, Muslim, Jewish--seem to be aware of the myriad groups working for peace in Israel and Palestine.
Combatants for Peace, a joint Israeli and Palestinian effort, promotes an end to the cycle of violence. Collum McCann featured this organization in his 2017 novel, Apeirogon--two fathers, a Palestinian and an Israeli, become friends through the organization and work together to bring the opposing sides together. Taghyeer (Change) is a Palestinian organization which belongs to a National Nonviolence Movement of grassroots communities and emerging leaders, who exercise nonviolence as a unifying identity for the Palestinian people. Project Rozana, a multi-faith group, founded in 2013 in Australia, with affiliate offices in Canada, the USA, and UK, aims to build bridges between Israelis and Palestinians through healthcare. The organization supports the training of Palestinian physicians and health professionals at Israeli hospitals. Project Rozana raises funds for a volunteer driver program in the West Bank and Israel for Palestinian patients to reach their appointments in Israeli hosptials. The project funds access to healthcare in Israel for complex medical procedures that are not available or easily accessible in Palestinian hospitals. (These are three of numerous groups working for positive change in the region.)
I listened to a program on PBS about general advancements in solar heating and access to water for Navajo communities. More good news; scientists working towards appropriate environmental stewardhip.
Major media companies would rather devote air time to tragedies, deaths, and cruelty. Not a Polyanna, but it occurs to me that broadcasting primarily the negative increases despair among those who care and reliance on conspiracy theories in the population of the distrustful. Why can't Rachel Maddow or Don Lemon lead off with a positive development in the never-ending parade of horrors--climate change, racism, antisemitism, war in Ukraine, deaths from drug abuse, and mass shootings
My introduction to this phenomenon occurred around 1993. My husband and I had successfully adopted two babies from Latin America. Our children thrived and brought endless joy to us. But what was on the nighly news? A story about Americans bribing poor birthmothers to relinquish their infants for body parts. I can barely type these words, so horrendous is this apocryphal narrative. It sickens me, turns my stomach, makes my blood boil. We, and thousands of other families, had adopted children and formed families, characterized by love, committment and responsibility.
I have been told that good news does not sell newpapers. Or put in 21st century terms, positive news does not get clicks. I suppose people get complacent until shocked into action by a tragedy. But, for those on the front lines of change, an accounting of productive advancement would be welcome.
People that I know despair. Often, friends refuse to talk about recent events due to their anguish. Perhaps that is part of older age--the world has changed, things are not what they used to be, etc. However, I would like periodic acknowledgement of progress to be the lead line on MSNBC's All In, or The Last Word. For example, a week after a devastating mass shooting, a report on the number of guns relinquished and turned in at police stations. After the distribution of a video on brutal police violence perpetrated on an unarmed black man, a story of a police department helping a community. Americans support Ukraine in its fight for democracy, a former eastern bloc country. More hybrid and electric cars on the road than ever before.
To those out there in cyberspace--you who control the news apps.
Could you insert positivity into the notificationon on our phones? We, the people in the 21st century, progress as much as we are stymied by the fearful. ©Karen Levi 2023