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Unclassified Info: Positive news exists, front page or not

January 18, 2011|By Gary Huerta

Prior to writing this column, one of my rituals is to visit the Glendale News-Press website to see if there are any stories I may have missed in the print edition. This week, my eye caught hold of a statistic. It appears that the Jan. 15 police report was the third most viewed story on the website.

The fact that the police report ranks so high on the most viewed list causes some conflict within me. The more primitive part of me is glad the paper dedicates column space to publicizing the names of individuals who are arrested on suspicion of burglary, drug possession and such. Perhaps it's Ye Olde Vigilante in me that finds this type of retribution fitting. It reminds me of the rack in the town square where criminals would be subject to public display and ridicule for crimes against the community.

Yet even though part of me believes people who do bad things ought to be "outed," the more evolved human within me refuses to read that section of the paper because doing so perpetuates the negative.

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I know what you're saying, "Gary, don't you have enough major conflicts in your life without having to over analyze a simple police blotter?"

Even though the answer to that is "yes," I still wish the good news stories were higher up on the most viewed list. There are far more good people in our community than bad apples. Likewise, there is more positive than negative occurring in the world. It just doesn't get the press because it doesn't get the ratings.

For every dramatic random bombing or senseless act of violence, there are millions of quiet, unreported acts of kindness and humanity on both a large and a small scale occurring all the time.

For every celebrity caught in a dubious scandal, there are countless others helping to raise awareness or money for a worthy cause. The only reason you don't hear about them is because TMZ and other news sources know the public would rather fill their bellies with tales of failure rather than stories of stoic triumph. Why? Because someone else's failure makes our own esteem higher by default.

I'm not trying to be Pollyanna about how we should filter the news, but if it is true that we perpetuate our existence by the things we do, then it might be time to shift our emphasis away from the negative and toward the positive — and that might include the stories and news we choose to follow.

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