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The planes that didn’t crash

Posted: April 5, 2012 10:50 a.m.
Updated: April 6, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Most of us are familiar with the antiquated adage of “no news is good news” or its cohort, “bad news travels fast.” With the former, the absence of information to the contrary justifies continued optimism.  Bad news is usually associated with more urgent matters; matters we are inclined to transfer more quickly to one another. Good news is boring, right? News is defined one way as “matter that is newsworthy.” Newsworthy is defined as “interesting enough to the general public to warrant reporting.” If we really think about it, good news rarely fits the definition of “news” because it is commonplace or ordinary. Once described as a “dreamer,” I have been known on occasion to search out those light, honorable stories. Dreamers are typically optimistic individuals but do believe, however, that it’s the responsibility of our news media to deliver to us information on the real world, regardless of the degree of unpleasantness … the good, the distressing. 

Recently, my brother-in-law, a journalist in D.C., and I were discussing the shortage of those feel-good, positive reports in the news -- ones that tell the story of a group of teenagers building houses for the homeless in their community; or the stories of the amazing things our military are doing here and abroad, notably in Iraq and Afghanistan; or what about the accounts of all the planes that didn’t crash today. Not to succumb to escapism, but to take a break from the bad and focus on the good, if only for a brief instant. He believes it’s the nature of journalism and people in general. Regrettably, good deeds are dull. There are no reports on the nightly news about the hundreds of planes that successfully took off and landed that particular day. We need the unpleasant, but I do believe there’s room for the feel-good stuff. Bad news may be delivered more rapidly, but the human spirit, our strength of mind, calls for the good as well.

On the same day the iPad II was released, our troops in Afghanistan uncovered an improvised explosive device factory which contained more than 550 pounds of ammonium nitrate used to build bombs that kill and maim brave U.S. and coalition troops and innocent Afghan citizens. Apple upgrades are big news (I guess), but so should the story of the coalition troops on the same day capturing terrorists wearing “a suicide vest, explosives, blasting caps and detonation cord.”

What about the story on how the love of soccer connecting our troops and Iraqi children? In support of Iraq’s national pastime, U.S. soldiers from a Military Transition Team collected and gave out over 300 soccer balls to Iraqi children with the message “From American kids to Iraqi kids” written in Arabic.

When Jacob Johnson, 14, learned of Rhema Butler, also 14, suffering from a rare form of cancer, he decided to do something to help and founded Rhema's Reality, a non-profit organization to raise money for childhood cancer research. Or did anyone catch the story of the 100 college students whot gave up their spring break to help clean up tornado-ravaged neighborhoods in Indiana last month? 

I just read an article where an Afghan Border Patrol major was singing the praises of the coalition army. “Before the arrival of the Coalition Forces to Afghanistan, we were going thru dark times. Things now have changed tremendously. We have great appreciation for and do not take lightly the sacrifices the troops have made, especially the United States.” Operation Care is a volunteer organization in Afghanistan comprised of U.S. military and Afghan civilians.  The program is dedicated to the welfare of the people of Afghanistan and the Coalition Forces located in remote areas, distributing bags of clothing and personal items including snacks and toys for the Afghan children. “This is one of the good news stories that you don’t hear about,” the major said. “We’re doing good things here and showing the locals we are good people.”

Sorry if I bored you. Good can be dull but necessary for our strength of mind and spirit. 



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