17 September 2006

Like, How Hard is This?

A great example of why I dislike local news (in general, and in Phoenix specifically): Friday night we were watching news on one of our local television stations (I won't name them. Why embarrass them further?) and the anchor said something like the following:

"A father had to make the hardest choice of his life: his job or his family." I thought, okay, someone had to pick between long hours away at a good-paying job, or time with the kids. Wrong! It turns out it was this: a local sheriff, watching surveillance video, spotted his son robbing a bank and turned him in. What? This was having to choose between job and family?

The man was understandably distraught over what he did; but, in the report we saw, it was not like he had to make a monumental decision: support a criminal who happens to be his son, or follow the law -- a law that, by the way, everyone is suppose to follow, not just a sheriff.

What irks me about this episode is that the news writer was making the story appear to be something that it was not -- just to hype it. While I understand the supposed need to strive for ratings, this kind of deception is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Antithetically, I feel the same way about a person who finds money in a wallet, or a bag, and turns it in; and the news people fall all over themselves praising the conduct.

Are we so ethically dead inside that "doing the right thing" is somehow unusual? I certainly hope not. It particularly irks me when the person finding the money is a child. It's like the writer is saying: "Look how this innocent child did the right thing. Aren't we pathetic adults ashamed of ourselves?"

Of course any person would be tempted to keep some found valuable; but it is only logical to conclude that the benefits of returning it would far outweigh the damage that would result from keeping it -- even if the person is not caught. Society depends on people conducting themselves a certain way. When that conduct is absent, society disappears.

I do not think it a big stretch to say that much of what is wrong with society today (in general, but specifically in this country) is the distance being placed between what is good for "me" in the short term, and what is good for "us" overall.

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