Monday, April 19, 2010
The Compassion Deficit and The Media's Role
The Compassion Lesson :"During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through the questions until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. "Absolutely," the professor said. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello." I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy." ~Joann C. Jones
During the Bush years I was trying to raise my son, trying to teach him compassion and empathy. I was trying to find him good role models, people that would inspire him. I tried to teach him that we all take care of each other, that we treat people as Our Neighbors, whether they live here or 3000 Miles away. I tried to teach him that we need to walk in each other's shoes,look into people's eyes, learn their "stories". That we need to think about what others are thinking and feeling and experiencing. But over time I have realized that the World is part of who teaches our children the Bigger lessons.And sadly this post is about the role that Media plays in the Compassion Deficit.
My son is a big History fiend, so much of his reading has helped raise his values and awareness on this issue. In 2008 we went to see Senator Obama speak and one of the most striking parts of his speech was about how our Country is suffering a "Compassion Deficit". That one phrase has become the opening to many conversations here, mostly where 6-6 has pointed out that many of our great Past Presidents would not have tolerated the political climate of today.My son has been hellbent on finding Presidents confronting Obstacles and Hate Rhetoric.My son's theory is that Political Leaders must set the tone, and Lead on issues that shape us, from Bullying to Torture. My theory is that the Leaders may set the tone or discuss,but the Media must cover the discussion and events that form this dialogue.My other theory is that it is up to us , all of us to teach our children and each other how to take care of each other and treat each other.
The MSM has great difficulty covering stories about Police Brutality,Bullying, Brutality at the HCR rallies,Death Threats to Leaders,and Illegal Arrests and Torture of the Bush Administration.Many have tried to write compelling posts on why these acts need to be investigated. Print Media has tried to raise thoughtful questions and keep people aware, but the Broadcasting media that could have educated on this issue has failed to cover the issue at all.If they don't cover Crimes by our leaders why should we even expect coverage of Bullying or Police Brutality to be covered with any journalistic integrity. The Media failed to cover the Torture of the Bush Administration and now they are failing to cover more details that are being revealed,especially the Broadcasting Media.
Yet the Broadcasting Media has had no trouble showing the Hate Speech and rhetoric of the Tea Party, and even covering it as an Legitimate group of people who should be allowed to embrace their anger. So I see them as encouraging the Hatemongering and hate rhetoric that is happening in our country. So they are capable of covering Hate Issues,yet they are not capable of covering the issue so that it educates or increases critical thinking on this issue.Today they are covering the Gun Rallies, even though this is the day when HateMongering caused death 15 years ago on this day. CNN has barely acknowledged that 15 years ago AntiGovernment hate led to the death of 168 people in Oklahoma City.
So the bigger question is does the Media play a role in our Compassion Deficit ? They do if they missreport crimes that were committed in our name and focus inappropriate attentions on Hate Rhetoric and Hatemongering.
Do read the post below that has update on Torture Issues that have been underreported.