Look Beyond the Headlines!

I always thought it goes without saying, but in light of recent comments left on my blog, I think it needs to be said: don’t believe everything you hear! Today there are so many sources of news and information, some reliable and some definitely not, that you must be sure you can trust the things you hear or read.

It is also important to get beyond the news headlines. News is, by its very nature, sensationalized. Television stations gain viewers and advertisers by having highly controversial, “hot” stories. Likewise, newspapers and magazines sell subscriptions by having cutting-edge, sensational headlines. Good news is boring; good news doesn’t sell.

Imagine for a second that you were a visitor to this country. If you had to judge America and her people solely on the things you learned on the news, in the papers, or on magazine covers, what would you think? It’s quite likely that you would come to the conclusion that Americans are all either rapists or murderers. After all, that’s what fills the news. I know that my Egyptian mother-in-law came to that conclusion during her first visit to the states!

It is the same way with Muslims and the Muslim world. Our news stations have little incentive to report “good” news from the region. Why would they show acts of kindness, generosity, or brotherly love? Why would they report on good Muslim parents, who sacrifice everything for their children? Why would you hear about all the loving, devoted husbands who work tirelessly so that their wives can stay home with the kids? Why would they tell you of the millions of Muslims who choose not to become terrorists, suicide bombers, or wife beaters? Why would they tell you of all the gentle ones, the ones with noble goals and peaceful dreams?

They wouldn’t. They have no reason to tell those stories. Those stories are boring; those stories don’t sell. So, instead you hear of the ones who are filled with rage, the ones who are willing to blow themselves up for a cause. And yes, clearly, those types exist. The problem is, those are such a minute fraction of the Muslim population! Most Muslims condemn those actions; most just want peace in the world. Most are willing to compromise and negotiate and find peaceful resolutions. But, of course, no one is telling those stories. Why would they?