Thursday, November 8, 2007

Where's the Good News?

Following up from my post the other day about controversial writing. I had another comment on the article.

In short, I criticized border guards because of some poor behaviour of a few. I received this comment:

I could go on forever about all the superb work my fellow officers and I do every day Heather, but that isn't quite the sensationalism you were striving for. So instead I'll just proudly put on my uniform and go to work Heather, and I hope I can stop the bad guy from getting in to your community tonight.

It falls into a common trap. If 99% of a group is doing good, how come it's the bad guys that get the headlines.

The short answer?

That's the way it works.

If we didn't publicize the bad behaviour of a few, then we'd very likely be accused of either hiding something, covering something up or having a strong bias. I kind of thought I was being just the slightest bit brave by criticizing a few people in an organization I think does a pretty good job. But just because I respect 99% of people in uniform, I'm not going to let the 1% go uncriticized.

However, when I criticize the 1% suddenly people assume I'm criticizing the 99%. No, that's not how it works.

Unfortunately, people like the commenter above don't come to news (MSM or not) looking for a headline that reads "Today Everyone Did Their Job and No One Got Hurt". It would be nice if that one popped up, but it never does.

Would an article about border guards doing a great job have made the news? Nope. Because editors and readers would assume a bias. Not every organization has every employee working at optimum status. The fact that you do your job is expected, not newsworthy.

When it comes to anyone in uniform, I admit my bias: I want to follow what they say. I want them to be the good guys. I want them to win.

And that's why it peeves me off when people within their own ranks disrespect their fellow workers. Yes, it does cast doubt on the group as a whole. Yes, I shone a light on that. I want them to pull their bootstraps up and kick the idiots out. Because I expect better.

But no, the good news that no police officers died today or no border guards were injured or no firefighter was killed... those things don't make the news. But they happen every day. And I'm glad.


Carolyn Erickson said...

"Today Everyone Did Their Job and No One Got Hurt".

I would LOVE to see that headline someday!

But I know what you mean. It isn't likely to happen. But it would kind of be news, wouldn't it? "Miracle of miracles folks! Nothing at all bad happened anywhere in the world today. We now cut to Geraldo Rivera for his report about... nothing!"


Serenity Now! said...

Yes, it would be a good headline, I agree.