“If it bleeds, it leads” is an old newspaper saying. It means that you sell more papers when you post the most alluring, violent and tragic stories. In this day in age when we get our news without reading a complete article or listening to a complete newscast, but through Twitter feeds or Instagram posts, we increasingly have smaller and smaller grasps on context. The less we grasp the context, and the more we’re only reading “if it bleeds, it leads” Twitter news posts, the more I think we become convinced the whole world is caving in and will come to a tragic end very soon.
The other night I did something that tells me I’m probably pretty old. I was watching an evening news broadcast. Of course all the blood, all the violence, and all the human tragedies were the leading stories for the first 20 minutes. As I watched these news reports it really felt as if the whole world was blowing up. In the last five minutes of the news-cast they did a feel good story from small town America about a little four-year-old boy who helps his friend, the mailman, deliver mail every day in his small hometown. It was a sweet, kind, and beautiful account of something good that happened in the world that day and then the news ended.
It makes me curious. What if that same newscast committed the first twenty minutes every day to legitimate news accounts of good things happening in our world, and then ended the last five minutes with an update of the sad and tragic news? I wondered, “How would I see my world differently if that was what my ‘news diet’ looked like every day?”
It makes me think about something I read somewhere. I want to say it was from the great mind of G. K. Chesterton or C. S. Lewis. So far I cannot find who said it – if you know please tell me. Anyway, it’s the idea that the greatest mystery in the universe is not the great question of why there is so much pain in this world. In actuality the greater mystery is the greater question – why is there so much beauty and goodness in such a fallen world?