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NEWS OF THE DAY by Oliver DeMille: Lessons from Crisis

NEWS OF THE DAY by Oliver DeMille: Lessons from Crisis

April 6th, 2020 // 5:19 am @

Lessons from Crisis

The popular saying that “we shouldn’t let a good crisis go to waste” applies to the regular people and citizens, not just to politicians. In fact, politicians often use such thinking to make things worse.

But the regular people can do a lot of good during times of crises. In fact, they usually do.

Right now is no exception. There are a lot more people helping and serving others during this crisis than the media ever mentions. That’s a testament to good people. In addition, many people are doing another very interesting thing during this crisis, one that may last and impact our society for good long after the crisis passes. Specifically, people are realizing that the large majority of the news media isn’t handling crises very well–going as far as frequently omitting truth in reporting, and at times skewing or spinning the truth instead of just sharing the facts and trusting listeners to use their own brains.

The media has done this for a long time, but during crisis a lot more people are catching on–realizing that the media is frequently less than direct and truthful. It can be a benefit for our society, if people realize the media isn’t as truthful as the majority once believed. Gallup conducted a national U.S. poll in the last week of March 2020, and they asked people around the nation the following question:

“Do you approve or disapprove of the way each of the following is handling the response to the coronavirus in the U.S.?”

Americans ranked the media dead last of all the institutions listed. The approval rating for the news media was only 44 percent, while 55 percent disapproved. Compare this to 88 percent approval for hospitals, 83 percent for schools and daycare, 82 percent for “your state” and the same for “your employer”. Even political officials received higher-than-usual marks, with president Trump at 60 percent approval and Congress at 59 percent. The news media was the only institution that Americans rated underwater–with many more disapproving than approving.

Hopefully the crisis can have at least two silver linings concerning the future of media:
1) the media will get its act together and stop substituting agenda-driven spin for real journalism, and

2) the American people will remember to treat media reports with skepticism–and do their own research on the news that is important to them.

I’m not holding my breath for #1, but I think the crisis will likely convince a lot more people to wisely apply #2. Lessons learned in crisis can help us do better in the future.


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One Comment → “NEWS OF THE DAY by Oliver DeMille: Lessons from Crisis”


  1. Mark LeMay

    5 months ago

    I agree with your assessment of today’s media. They sound more like Pravda in Russia.


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