Media Bias? Ready? Set? Empathize!

To be blind….but worse is to have eyes and not see.
Helen Keller
I’ve just listened to a 911 call about a 2 year old accidentally shot to death. At the network affiliate television station I serve, we will not air this excruciating outflow of human tragedy. Yet as I sit here listening, I’m reminded how so many see us. They believe mainstream media sit around dreaming up ways to oppose their agendas and inflict harm. They are utterly wrong. We are no machinery of sadistic madness. We seek to serve as a Constitutionally mandated tool of expansive and questioning minds. We hear and see so much we protect you from out of decency. But we will never protect you from the truth.
We nurture the vine of human fact without adding the barbs of human indignity.
The next time you hear someone speaking of the so called biased media, ask for an example, quick. Don’t accept one from Fox Newchannel, MSNBC or National Review. These are outlets that live on advocacy journalism. And then look up a dynamic called motivated reasoning. It’s the seed of so much of the blind railing you’ll hear on cable and in the cubicle next to yours.
When you see a reporter covering something that breaks your heart, consider the reporter’s heart. The photographer’s heart. It is as yours. And chances are good that crew has seen or heard something that to share would amount to tragedy voyeurism and exploitation. We do not do this. We never will. It’s no cause for a merit badge. It’s simple human decency.
We remove the gore, but not the truth. And often, we take home with us what does not enter your home. To see the news is to require more than the naked eye. It demands a seers soul. A quiet connection to another’s suffering.  As a journalist, I will never objectify the suffering of another.  I will seek to feel it, and to report on it with due journalist detachment, never losing attachment to my humanity, or yours.
Do not spare your children from the news. Those who grew up on the Vietnam images, the Kennedy funeral and MLK assassination, the collective anguish of 911 are not emotionally scarred. They are broader of heart. They are the lesser naive. And I’ll dare say they are truly hopeful. They know love is no emotion, but an action. A state of being and doing. Truly human. They dare to be. And to see.

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