The story they missed

Television, radio, and print media take pride in being “America’s most trusted news source” or their “fair-and-balanced reporting” or printing “all the news that fit to print.” I’m not so sure that most of us trust them all that much. I’m quite certain that they are as biased in reporting as most of us are in hearing. And there’s a lot of good news that nobody seems to bother to print or broadcast.

For example, the focus of coverage on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is an example of the worst in journalism. Blaming. Finger-pointing. Bickering about lines of authority and responsibility. Absolutely untrue stories about murder, rape, and scores of corpses in major shelters. Reporting the grossest of speculations. Are our media outlets correct that America is a cesspool of corrupt politicians, incompetent leadership, racist citizens, and selfishness? Mmm. Okay, there’s a lot of that hateful stuff. But there’s much more that’s good that they’ve missed.

Generous Americans gave $700 million to the Red Cross and another $55 million to the Salvation Army in just two weeks. Thousands of unpaid volunteers manned shelters, cooked food, and cried with scared people. As soon as they could, thousands more trucked in donated supplies, sent crews of people with chain saws and shovels to help clean up, and opened their homes to evacuees.

Predominantly black churches sheltered white people whose homes had been destroyed. Majority white churches took in Latinos and African Americans. A rabbi and a preacher drove in a truckload of supplies donated by their synagogue and evangelical church. Muslims, Christians, atheists, conservatives, liberals – a coalition of goodwill of compassion has displayed the best in human nature.

Little kids emptied piggy banks. Elderly people sacrificed from fixed incomes. Corporations gave huge checks. Offices collected small amounts. Schools accepted children without the normal paperwork. People didn’t really care if the person benefitting from their efforts were Democrat or Republican, Baptist or Catholic, rich or poor in pre-disaster times. They stepped up to help.

As the blame games and posturing continue, let your focus be on the good things you see. Watch for things that reflect love and concern and sacrifice. Look for local stories of school children or church groups who are creative in kindness.

“You’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly …” (Philippians 4:8 MSG).

If you look, those things are there to see.

Reprinted from Rubel Shelly’s FAX of Life.

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