We all have that one friend, you know them. They’re perky, full of energy, and most of all – they tell it like it is. No matter the situation they find themselves in, no matter where they are and no matter who they’re talking to, they have no filter. Sometimes that can be a good thing, especially when we really need to hear the truth. Though there are sometimes where it can be tough. In short, the truth hurts. No matter what, however, we treasure them, and love having them as a friend. This friend doesn’t judge us for what we said when we had a little too much to drink, doesn’t think differently of us when we get a little angry. They’ll tell us exactly what we need to hear, when we need to hear it. They’re a security blanket.
For the world, that friend is the Media.
Today, we live in a world where the media can be thought of as vile, cruel, unnecessary and unfortunately – fake. But why? Why do we treat the media this way? Something that is so necessary for not only the dissemination of important, and sometimes life-saving, information, but also something that helps keep our lives and officials in check. Is it because we are afraid of what the truth is? Maybe deep down, we’re terrified at what the reality of life is, and what the news can be. Maybe since we don’t know what to do with the truth, we turn to anger, anger from where it came — like shooting the messenger. Or maybe it’s something different altogether. Regardless, anger and mistrust towards the media is a dangerous, and saddening thing, and it needs to end.
Everywhere you look you can find instances of people calling the media fake, or vindictive, however this couldn’t be further from the truth. The media’s job is to report the facts, and that’s what they do. Sadly however, some people think they can fight the facts, diminish them as lies, and blame the media for the divisions among us. This can be more dangerous than even some of the stories being reported. When we begin to vilify the media and the press, we give the impression that the very thing that is trying to protect us is evil. Just like that friend that would always speak their mind, the media sometimes tells us things we don’t want to hear — they tell us that we were wrong, and that can be difficult for some to accept.
This year has been a year of turmoil, tension, and just a general feeling of the unknown. But no matter what, no matter what was going on, the media was still running, and still getting crucial information to us accurately, and timely. This year we saw one of the worst pandemics this country has ever seen rock the economy and our daily lives. But whatever was happening in the world, good or bad, we had friends on the front-lines, the front-lines of information. We craved it, we needed it, and it comforted us.
The media isn’t just talking heads at 8pm, it’s not just writers for the world’s largest news outlets — it’s local people too, it’s our neighbors, and it’s our friends. It’s the people on local news, broadcasting on the radio and writing for our local papers. They are the ones having our back in this time of great need for information. It’s our friends who are going to local hospitals, police departments, and other government agencies so we can have an informed day, and they never complain. The pay is low, and the hours are rough — but being in the media is so much more than that. It’s about helping people, and making sure our community is informed.
What some people don’t realize though is that the media is composed of people, living people who are simply dedicated to reporting the facts. They are people who want to do nothing else than to make a difference, and report on the world around us. It’s a tough, and sometimes dangerous job that not everyone could do. Long hours, low pay, and now the unfortunate stigma that comes from saying you work in the media. But why? What will we ever get from this? Journalists aren’t there to spread misinformation or lies. They’re there to open our eyes to what is going on, and change our lives for the better. But for some reason, when the story makes us uncomfortable, we turn to anger. We feel it as a personal attack — we’re afraid of how the world can actually be.
Having a free press and media is a blessing, because it’s not this way all over the world. In some points on the globe, you can’t have free thought, you can’t have an opinion, and you can’t think for yourself. But in this country, the free press is a pillar of our government, and for a good reason. Sadly, not everyone is perfect, and not everyone is honest, and if we let this go unchecked it can cause horrible imbalance in the government we love and trust. Sometimes this comes at the expense of someone’s reputation, sometimes, this causes someone to lose their job, and sometimes it even sends someone to jail. But just because it may be painful doesn’t make the facts any less true. Biases aside, they make no difference, all media have one goal — the truth.
We’re not always going to be happy with what the media has to say, and that’s okay. It’s okay to not be happy with everything you read or see on television, or hear on the radio. When it becomes a problem is when we start to believe that we can’t ever be wrong, or that there is some deeper agenda in the press simply stating the facts of what is going on around us. But knowing what’s wrong leads you to how to fix the issue, and makes us better people. The media is not there to ruin lives, or induce panic, but to help. It’s there to keep us informed, keep us in the loop, and create a world with open and free channels of knowledge. We can learn so much from the media and become a well-rounded society. Words will always give you away, much more than actions. If we’re so distrustful of the media, maybe the facts they’re reporting truly are revealing something deeper.
Now more than ever, we need information, and we need accurate information. Thankfully for us,this is exactly what the media can provide. From warnings of an approaching hurricane to the daily traffic report, it’s information that makes our lives easier and safer. However there is another purpose for the media, a responsibility it willingly carries. This responsibility is to keep our world in order and our government in check, and this can be the most difficult part of all. There is so much more to this life than all of the negative, you just have to look for it. And when things go right and life is going well, the media will be there to tell you.