I was checking my email today after being away from home for a week without my computer and ran across a suggestion from Twitter to follow Geoff Talbot. When I looked him up, I found his wonderful blog called Seven Sentences: Daily Inspiration for Creative People. His blog appeals to me for a couple of reasons. First, most of his posts are only seven sentences long, not a lot of time lost reading on a busy day, and second, I learn something when I read his posts. The post I read today made me think about something that has been bothering me.
He said, “It is the curse of our times that we are led so frequently by our emotions and that we lead so infrequently with our values.” You can read the whole post here: http://sevensentences.com/2013/06/06/be-of-good-character/
I agree with him. I think we react with our emotions often without thinking, and I think the media has caught on and exploit people in the midst of their emotions. If you’ve ever been in a difficult situation, you know you need some privacy to sort things out, to figure out what you think and process what happened according to your values so that you can make sense of the situation. You do not need someone to shove a microphone in your face and record for the world your “reaction” to an event.
In our Youtube generation and digital age, I think people don’t value their privacy, and that’s a shame. In fact, I think people have abandoned values and principles as old-fashioned and outdated. Our society seems to value “emotion” more than it does thoughtful reasoning or prayerfully considered action.
Think back to nearly any tragedy covered in the news. When disaster strikes as in the tornados in Moore, Oklahoma, the media traversed the area to document the “emotion” and “reactions” of the survivors while they were still raw and incredibly vulnerable. What they found with most of the people there, however, was that their emotion was apparent (How could it not be?) but most of the people they interviewed were governed by a solid foundation in their faith. They knew, because they had faith, that God would help them recover from the destruction all around them. They generally didn’t bemoan their condition, they didn’t declare themselves victims, and they had compassion for those who were in worse shape than they were at that moment. In fact, it seemed to me that the media were a bit nonplussed at the lack of “emotion” they were able to exploit!
This documenting people’s emotions and reactions to an event has become the norm for the media, an exploitation of people which to me is troubling. What troubles me further is the willingness of most people to allow such an intrusion in their lives. The media ask questions of vulnerable people trying to get them to bare their souls to increase ratings on national TV. They ask prying, inconsiderate questions designed to elicit tears. And when the person they are interviewing succumbs to tears on camera, the media zooms in for a close up and reacts with a voyeuristic glee that they were able to push someone to cry on TV. What would we call someone who did this outside of the media? Think about that for a minute. Would you allow someone to question your family or your best friend in such a way? And yet, the media continue to do it. I find prying into the lives and privacy of people who have experienced tragedy absolutely appalling. When did reaction and emotion become news anyway?
As for the news anchors who adopt a sad face in any tragedy and say their “thoughts and prayers” are with the victims? Well, forgive me if I’m skeptical, but I wonder if these people actually do pray. What they do in their broadcasts nightly is cover and, in fact, support the destruction of Christian principles and values in our country for the sake of political correctness. What they do is malign those who publicly espouse their Christianity. Do you doubt that? Just take a look at Tim Tebow, for example. I believe the media do their best to promote and support policies that run counter to the traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and values that have been the underpinnings of our society for two hundred years.
So yes, I believe what Geoff Talbot says. I don’t know if he would support what his words inspired in this post, but I think it’s still incredibly important that we who do hold our values highly and try to live our lives according to them defend our stance and continue to assert our way of thinking. It is quickly disappearing. We are being cowed into submission. Daily we see ourselves being labeled as divisive, bigoted, small-minded, and non-inclusive. I could go on, but I think you understand what I mean. We should all try to think through our emotions before we become fodder for the news media. And we should lead with our values.