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  • Jered Stewart

Caution: Words at Work

TV news has always been depressing to me, which is why I stopped watching it years ago. I could no longer withstand the over dramatization and I became weary of the sensationalized nature of the delivery of the “news”. I think my level of optimism has increased dramatically since. Don’t worry, I haven’t entirely stuck my head in the sand, I just choose my news sources more wisely now. It seems true journalism died long ago.

As we observe events unfold around the world I am reminded of the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin, who once said, “Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.” You might add to that, “and none of what you read on the internet.” We live in an era of information overload and quick judgment, and it often seems that most judgments are pre-determined and based upon few facts, if any. It doesn’t take long to scroll through the comments on a Facebook feed or at the end of an online news story to get a sense of where people stand, and it is often quite ugly, likely without full information, and quickly turns political. There is an apparent spirit of meanness and hate that is disheartening that seems to often come from behind the hidden veil of a keyboard wirelessly plugged into the internet.

Throughout history there is much evidence of injustice towards humanity on many levels. Unfortunately, this does not seem to have improved with the passage of time. World wars, genocide, individuals imprisoned unfairly or sold into slavery, and persecution of those based upon their race or religion. While all men may be created equal, it is clear that some continue their work towards the good, and some choose a destructive path of oppression and dehumanization.

As you watch the news and observe what is going on in the world, I wonder if you might stop and really listen. What are you filling your mind with? Do you only consume what you like to hear, or do you sometimes question what is really true? I am reminded of some wise words – be quick to listen and slow to speak. And maybe add - be cautious in forming your opinion, and careful with your words. And finally, perhaps it may be time to turn off the TV.

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.”

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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