Hey, Cable News, There’s Some Good News to Report

Jul 17, 2016 by

The three main cable news networks have a few things in common: their main concern is ratings, they try to entertain rather than provide objective news, they hire political operatives and questionable commentators with partisan views and self-interests and they love to dwell on the negative, adding to the nation’s collective gloominess.

Warning: Too much news consumption can cause depression, cynicism, anxiety and anger—especially if you’re tuned in to FOX, the conspiracy channel.

This explains why Donald Trump has been so successful at dominating the news media. He knows he’ll get nonstop coverage if he says outrageous things or hurls insults. When he does, CNN, MSNBC and FOX give it “Breaking News” status. MSNBC even bragged about its exclusive interview with Trump when he called someone a name.

Let’s focus on my pet peeve—dwelling on the negative and hyping it. My aggravation is nonpartisan and would apply equally to whoever is in office. The danger—as we’re seeing in this tedious presidential campaign—is that voters are getting a warped perception of reality.

For example, in the U.S. economy, we’ve had 75 straight months of job growth with 14.8 million jobs added, or an average of nearly 200,000 jobs a month. Unemployment has fallen from 10 percent to 4.9 percent. How many Americans know this?

In the May jobs report, only 38,000 jobs were added. This disappointing report was given coverage with headlines like: Is the Economy Slowing? Are We Headed for Another Recession?

I wondered why there wasn’t much coverage of the June jobs numbers. I Googled it, searched social media and found that the jobs report was very strong—the U.S. economy added 287,000 jobs in June! Why wouldn’t the cable news channels, with 24 hours a day to fill, want to focus on that? Is good news a ratings killer?
My point is not to debate whether that’s good enough. Shouldn’t we be informed what the job numbers are and what the trend has been? I would think that’s more newsworthy than Trump calling U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average also hit a new high of 18,348 on July 12, passing the Dow’s record set in May 2015. What did the cable news networks focus on? Congressional Republicans grilling Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Bernie Sanders supporters mad he endorsed Hillary Clinton and Trump’s tweets.

Because of cable news, a lot of Americans believe the economy is in the toilet. It’s not. Yes, some people are unemployed and many more are underemployed or have not seen an increase in their income. These are legitimate concerns and should be addressed by candidates running for office. Still, we need to agree on the baseline facts instead of hyping the negative perception.

Shouldn’t we all be working toward and hoping for a robust economy that benefits all instead of cheering for low job numbers to bash opponents with?

Let’s note the successes in the fight against ISIL. The cable news channels won’t.

Here are a few positive reports that were barely mentioned.

On June 30 coalition forces killed 250 ISIL militants and destroyed 175 of their vehicles—a major blow to ISIL near Fallujah, in Iraq. What a great job by our military and allies in the battle against terrorism! Shouldn’t Americans know progress is being made? There was barely a mention.

Of course, three days later, when ISIL terrorists killed 22 people in a restaurant in Dhaka and 44 people in an airport in Istanbul, those attacks were covered nonstop.

Another success story on the war against ISIL: They’ve lost 25 percent of the lands they once held in Iraq and Syria, a significant reduction of their caliphate. And we’ve had success in cutting off their money supply from oil and shutting down about 90 banks operating in ISIL-controlled territory.

Yet I hear candidates and their surrogates go unchallenged on cable news when they claim we’re not doing anything on the war on terror. Tell that to the FBI and intelligence community, which have thwarted attacks within our borders, and to our military and coalition forces, which are bravely battling terrorists abroad.

Maybe I’m being too tough on cable news. I post positive news about the economy and the fight against terrorism on Twitter and Facebook – yet those posts don’t get retweeted or shared nearly as often as negative stories or criticism.

Perhaps cable news is just giving their viewers what they want—a huge helping of the self-fulfilling prophecy of doom and gloom.

Call me crazy, but I believe we live in the greatest country in the world and that we are fortunate to have freedoms and opportunities that many people in many countries dream of.

Unfortunately, cable news coverage does not reflect that.

Paula Dockery is a syndicated columnist who served in the Florida Legislature for 16 years as a Republican from Lakeland. She can be reached at PBDockery@gmail.com.

All columns are (c) Paula Dockery | No reprint rights to whole columns are ever granted without express permission. | To syndicate Paula Dockery's columns please write to PBDockery@gmail.com

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