The Media and Hate

face=”Times New Roman” size=”3″>     face=”Times New Roman” size=”3″>  Let me disclose from the outset that this is about two separate issues. One is how manipulated we are by the media. The other is about the inevitable effects of hatred. While these seem unrelated at first glance, my thoughts on both are the result of one single news story I listened to this morning.
    A little background music, please.
    I had to leave home very early today. Usually, I check out the headlines on the computer before I do but today there was no time. So my information about the latest news was obtained from my car radio.  Over a three hour period I had listened to three separate radio talk show hosts and the focus of each was whether or not Barack Obama needed to seriously distance himself from his minister, Jeremiah Wright, a very vocal and seemingly racist voice from the Chicago community. Apparently, some breaking news story was focused around Minister Wright’s angry delivery to his congregation on the failings, and prophesied “damned” future, of the United States. And although each of the hosts played excerpts of the Minister angrily delivering his opinion, I looked forward to getting back to my computer to read the story for myself.
    The problem arose when I returned home and logged on. I couldn’t find the story. In fact, I couldn’t find any indication in today’s news why this story was such a hot topic for talk radio. The contrast was a stunning example of how we are manipulated by not only how we get our news, but also which news we actually get. I bet if you had been a mouse at the water cooler in any business where the employees had listened to talk radio on their way into work, Barack Obama and Minister Wright would have been the hot topic. To the contrary, same water cooler… different company with employees who only saw CNN or MSNBC on their computer or Blackberry screens on their way in…well, you get the picture.
    The moral: Think for yourself. Refuse to be manipulated by a select group of people whose political affiliation or agenda spoon feeds you only what they want you to know in order to control you and get from you the reaction they desire.
    The second issue is Minister Wright’s delivery. While the substance of what he had to say may have some merit, the delivery was so filled with anger and blame that the ultimate outcome of his rage can only be more anger and more hatred. I am reminded of an entry I once wrote shortly after the Reverend Jerry Falwell died contrasting his spiritual message with that of Dr. Martin Luther King.  Reverend Falwell had a person or group to blame for every evil…a scapegoat if you will…while Dr. King was about the potential for good in all of us and the need to override lesser instincts for the highest good of all.
    Minister Wright could learn much from that contrast.
    Thousands of years of war have gotten us nothing but more war.  It’s the same with  hate speech. While it may temporarily satisfy a need making someone, or some group, accountable for past injustices…in the long run it just sets up someone else somewhere who, as the object of that hate-filled accountability, eventually feels the need to vent their oppression on some new group down the road.
    And the cycle never ends.
    If Minister Wright wants to be the very public voice of the Black community in America, not to mention the spiritual mentor of possibly the next President of the United States, he would do well to temper the delivery of his grievances with a higher and more effective tone. Such a tone is founded, and grounded, in the knowing that spiritually, only a loving heart heals, and only Love trumps hatred.
    Just as it’s the Light that banishes darkness, not more darkness, so is it that only a loving intent is able to find it’s way into a hardened heart.

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