The title should have been, “There’s No Good News.” I no longer get a newspaper, so I usually read my news online. I have CNN.com as my homepage. Yesterday I woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head. On my way downstairs I get my morning coffee, sit down at my computer and click the little blue e on my desktop. The first, big, top of the page headline that appears is “Children Die in Fiery Crash.” What the hell is wrong with people?!!? Do the people who decide what story to lead the CNN page with think that a headline like that will actually get us to want to read? I think I could probably sue for the P.T.S.D. I developed from reading that headline. There wasn’t even a warning stating that “this news page may contain content disturbing to younger viewers or Phil.” Who in their right mind reads an article like that? I don’t want to know about innocent children perishing in a fiery plane crash. Then in the sidebar where they have headlines for other articles I see a headline that says “Two cops die in motorcycle parade honoring widows.” (I’m paraphrasing here because I don’t remember it exactly, but that’s pretty damn close) This was followed today by the news story reporting that “Aztecs Butchered, Ate Spanish Invaders.” Apparently there wasn’t enough bad news today, so they dug up a story from 500 hundred years ago just to remind us that the world has always sucked. As you can imagine, the joy filling my heart was overwhelming. Is it possible that news stories like this are why the Iraqis keep kidnapping and threatening to kill journalists? Apparently I’m not the only person unhappy with the news.
When I become President or Sexiest Man Alive, whichever comes first, I’m passing a law requiring that every news organization in the world, including Aljazeera, begin their news (broadcast, print, or online) with a happy story. I want to read stories about a family nearly bankrupt and about to be homeless winning the lottery, or people with handicaps being miraculously cured or witty, well written bloggers being discovered by powerful editors who give them their own weekly syndicated humor column. That’s the kind of news I want to start my day with.
When I win the lottery, which probably won’t even be mentioned on CNN, I’m going to start my own “Happy News” station. With all the crap channels on cable and satellite t.v. I find it hard to believe that there isn’t a place for “Happy News.” Or do you think I should call it Phil’s Happy News?
1) you already are SMA >>2) some rich guy IS starting a “happy” news channel>>3) just another reason to hate mornings>>4) FIRST POST FIRST POST – YIPPI
What does CNN stand for? Cause I know its not Canadian National News (even though I thought it was).>>Im sorry for your PTSD. Thats harsh, ESPECIALLY since it came from just reading a headline, and not actually being involved in the incident.
I apologize to everyone for this lousy post.>>QG- I did have this Happy News idea a long time ago, but since I’ve been waiting for my big lottery win to put my plan into action, some other pinhead stole my idea.>>Princess- If CNN stood for Canadian National News it would be filled with stories about moose, hockey and some unimportant French carp about Quebec. And perhaps a big story about your Mounties changing their unform color to pink.
HI phil….>I have been having tons of trouble with my freakin blog but I found your post which I enjoyed however, your comment to princess did give me an owwie…* ouch*>>( oh and I think you may have meant to write French crap not French carp..but then again it is you and maybe you did mean carp.)>>I thought you liked us Canadian’s was I wrong>?
I think that is called the “sandwich effect” where you put bad stuff in the middle of good stuff. For example: “I like your haircut, but your blog sucks donkey balls. Cool shoes!”
Sorry Phil, someone has already beaten you to it!>http://www.happynews.com
Phil, really I thought someone as astute as you would have figured this one out. It’s not about the type of news that’s put out there, but how you respond to it. For example, (and I know this will offend a lot of people, but I’m just trying to be funny) just say to yourself “thank god it wasn’t me. I’m still alive and I didn’t die in that fire or crash.” What makes it easier is if the person who perished was a hardened criminal or just plain stupid. This just proves Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest. Instead of having your own happy news website, I suggest you just take those little green and grey capsules daily before you read/watch the news. Then you don’t have to buy those expensive rose colored glasses you’ve been eyeing for so long.
Quinn- Everything I said to Princess was tongue in cheek. I do love my Canadian friends and was very much kidding.>>CC- I’d be fine if the real news would take the sandwich approach, but they never do. They just tack on one of those cheesy little human interest stories at the end of the nes as if that will make it all better. Kind of like giving a kid a lollipop after a horrible Dr. visit.>>Michelle- I’m glad someone has beaten me to the website, but I want to go big time with a global t.v. channel broadcast in every language. You can be my Australian correspondent.>>Travelin’ pt.- I get your joke and your insult. My strategy is to just find ways to make fun of everything, but how can I laugh off “Children Die In Fiery Plane Crash.” They didn’t even try to soften the blow with that headline.
Avoid the news, live in blissfull ignorance then be surprised at why everyone else isnt as happy and carefree as you.
phil, i agree with you. so i usually don’t watch the news, ignorance maybe but it keeps me out of alot of THOSE conversations at work too…”did you hear about…?” “uh, no, i don’t watch the news” after a while people quit asking and i am free to surf the net, blog and attend to my work. seriously though, i think the news desensitizes people to all the crap that is going around in the world, we see bombs dropped, houses burned, children killed everyday, nothing surprises (creates a reaction) us anymore…till it happens to us that is.
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Hey PHIL,>>phew, I hoped you would say that..therefore my the invitation still stands for you to come and visit and try some poutine and beaver tails!!!>(but deffinately not at the same time cause then it would be gross LOL).
Well, Phil, you should move to Vancouver. Our news stations here usually lead with a story of a little lost dog that’s been found.>>There was recently a huge fire in Vancouver, some houses were lost, people were homeless, but the TV news lead with a story about a cat stranded up a telephone pole in California. That was actually their lead story that morning. And they ended up not even reporting the story of the fire. I learned about it because it was a few blocks away from where I live.
I read that Aztec story the other night and felt physically ill afterwards – and I’m not a weak stomached person. That was really just too freakin gross.
Here in the tropics, in my little corner Belize, the news media tends to start out with the most horrific stories of the day and then use the sandwich method of throwing in a human interest story and then ending blandly with the sports section. I was told that their motto in picking their lead story is “if it bleeds it leads”. >>Phil, I am looking out keenly for when you go big time with a global t.v. channel broadcast in every language. Can I be your Belizean correspondent?
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You are so very very right Phil! Newspapers would be so much better, and more worthwhile, if only sarcastic humor and stories of drunken revelry and lottery winners made it above the fold. Heck, anything smacking of unpleasant reality should be relegated to the back pages, if not censored compeltely! Us journalists should really pull our heads out and and realize our true duty!
Jessica, My point is not that there is anything wrong with journalists or reporting the sad news, but sometimes it seems that sesationalism sells rather than sensitivity. Really, “Children Die In Fiery Crash”? And what’s up with reporting on the Aztecs eating the Spanish Invaders? That isn’t recent or relevant, but seemed intended to attract attention.
exactly….sensationalism Sells. Journalism is one of the few industries in the world that is expected by public opinion to commit financial suicide to appease the moral indignation of the very public who make it impossible to comply with their demands. Newspapaers are businsesses. We dont get government subsidies, we arent a not-for profit business supported by grants and donations and the generosity of everyone … Reporters make some of the lowest wages around, yet we are supposed to ignore the fact that, as unpleasant as it is, what people want to buy is not the happy stuff. It falls on two lines. first, we are a newspaper, our job is to report the news. Sorry that it happens this way, but news, being a report of what happens, is going to include unpleasant things. and unfortunatly, there are plenty of unpleasant things happening, and those unpleasant things affect a lot more people, are more regionally instead of locally important, and thirdly, SELL better than good news. Newpaper readership is DOWN…National Enquirer pulls in more money each year than the top 3 newspapers combined. People would rather watch Jerry Springer than a news program, and when they do watch news on tv, it is invariably one of the infotainment shows that talks more about what color purse to carry and what sports star is using drugs than about the new zoning decision downtown or the new commissioner of agriculture in washington dc. But as a morally outraged public, you gasp, horrified, that we would print such tragedy …yet you wont buy anything else. Without bad news above the fold, the papers remain sitting in the box. But guess what, its NOT that we dont print good news. Try reading the whole paper. I just won five Florida Press Association awards, and every one in connection with a “good news” story. If the public doesnt like the standard of “if it bleeds, it leads,” then dont make blood the only thing they’ll buy!
Jessica- A well spoken and respected response. Congratulations on your awards. I’d have loved to have been able to read the articles. My hope is that more people will feel the way I do and eventually the good news will be what sells papers. The tragedy needs to be included, but for me, if there is a huge headline designed to shock and grab attention my inclination is to avoid reading that because it smacks of sensationalism, which by definition is not objective.
I’m sorry, the sexiest man alive title is currently filled by my boyfriend. 😉>>Will you settle for second sexiest man alive?