ADD THIS TO “IF IT BLEEDS IT LEADS”
For many years, the phrase “If it bleeds, it leads” has been used to describe what gets the main coverage in the news. The idea is that disasters garner the most attention, so the main headline or “tonight’s top story” is nearly always tragic. Murders, natural disasters, and fires are quite often what lead the news.
However, with the proliferation of news outlets and the length of time they are available, there might need to be another statement to add to that one. It started with 24-hour news channels that had to fill, well, 24 hours. But with the growth of podcasts, YouTube channels, and more all sharing news, there has been a need to get attention.
So, in addition to “If it bleeds, it leads,” I would suggest that we are living in the era of “If it yells, it sells.”
The vast majority of what is shown on “news” programming is not news. It is people talking about, debating, and giving commentary on the news. The same is true of most podcasts. But what often gets attention is when those hosts or their guests get fired up. Sometimes, they get angry with each other and just yell. At other times, they are just angry with the issue or with a person, so they give more and more inflammatory opinions and commentary on the subject.
Now, why would I write about this on a site that deals with faith and family? Because that way of sharing things can easily influence us in our day-to-day interactions if we are not careful. If we fill our minds with people just shouting over one another and not listening at all, we can struggle to not treat each other the same way. If we begin to think it’s a good idea to get more and more inflammatory in our language and disposition to prove a point, then we will have trouble having a calm and meaningful Bible study with someone.
Certainly, there are times to be bold. God does not require us to just “take” anything and never speak up. However, we are to be people who are “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). The “truth” part of that takes care of the content. We can be bold and confident in the truth. However, the “love” part of that takes care of the disposition. We will learn to listen, to carefully choose words, and to not verbally attack someone even with whom we deeply disagree.
We may not get as much attention as the “yellers” we see all around us, but the attention we do receive will be more likely to help us teach people about the Lord and influence them for good.
AUTHOR: Adam Faughn