We were pleased and thankful to see this piece by Walt Hellman in The Oregonian. Hellman offers his scathing but effective observations about the role the media plays in reinforcing negative stereotypes about government. Here is an excerpt:
The vast majority of government programs are helpful to us. The overwhelming majority of government employees are hard-working and honest. While exposés of government misdeeds can be a public service, the current near-fixation on them does great damage. It misrepresents the quality of our government unnecessarily poisoning the well of public trust. Without that trust the government cannot do the things we need it to do.
Next time you read or hear a story about government that makes your blood boil, stop and ask yourself, “Is this story representative of all that’s going on in that branch of government?” Chances are it’s not. Of course we need to fix things that are wrong. But let’s not withhold support of essential government programs based on increased and misrepresentative negative portrayals in the media.
We’re with you Walt. Government’s failings shouldn’t be swept under a rug, but when members of the media seem fixated on distorting government’s record or reinforcing negative stereotypes just for the sake of it, we should take them to task.