From the “They Already have That” files:
As my friends can attest, I read the New York Times and regularly get bummed out. I don’t think the Times means to do this, as they do not seem to subscribe to the FoxNews trademarked Scare Readers Shitless School Of Journalism. But there surely does seem to be a lot going wrong with the world these days.
I wonder how much of this bad news is spin, and how much is legitimately going wrong. So I recently struck on the idea (one I’m in no position to act upon) to start a Good News news site. One that would take as its starting point the theoretical “neutral news” of the world, and then err on the side of optimism and progress. The anti-Fox News, I guess.
Turns out, there are many of these sites. I googled ‘Good News’ and looked at the top results. All of them have similar goals: to remind us that there is good news out there; to provide some daily optimism; to balance out the mainstream media’s constant fear-danger-depression angle. However, after a short examination, their “hard hugging” journalism leaves something to be desired.
Google Search Result #1: Good News Network
This is the first search result. It aims to be a professional news outlet devoted to positive news, but you need to pay to read the content. Plus, the leading headlines from this random Monday morning site visit seem to tilt towards small-town good news, not an overarching view of the nation at large.
Google Search Result #2: Happy News
This site is less newspaper-news-oriented, with prominent space devoted to videos and for-sale products aimed at positive living. The site also posts only one “Top Story” at a time and you have to dig to find other stories, which are as likely to be small-towny as the one I found this morning.
Google Search Result #3: Good News Daily
This site has more of the international news I want to see, as it seems to post articles from other news sources. The layout is amateur, however, and it also encourages reader-submitted articles, which does not generate the air of professional journalism I’m looking for.
Google Search Results #4 and 5: Christian “Good News” sites.
Google Search Result #6: Good News Now (GNN)
The site tabs make it clear this site isn’t going for hard-hitting investigative journalism, but rather the news equivalent of Daily Puppy.
The website I want doesn’t seem to be out there (at least not easily found). Outlets like Fox have become very skilled in manipulating the world’s complexity to present a preordained perspective. Objective journalism is rather impossible, since what a newspaper prints or does not print is, in itself, a subjective decision. So I’d like to see a website that shamelessly spins national and international news towards an optimistic viewpoint. This site would avoid fluff like, “Dog Saves Cat From Flood,” or “Cheerleading Squad Saves Teachers’ Pensions,” which seems to be popular with the good news sites I visited. Tell me about Afghanistan, global warming and Capitol Hill. If leading news outlets can depict Obama as a secret Muslim, surely a professionally-staffed news site could tell me something positive about Iraq. And no, I don’t mean “Sufi Dog Saves Shia Cat From Flood.”