Media & Society
Media sometimes presents itself as a guardian of healing, and healing is always occurring in society. Ubiquitous media though never stops in playing its part with far-reaching implications. As objects of attention media has profound influences on our perceptions, the healing of mind, body, and spirit. This is because the mass media is the central nervous system of the world. Media lives up to the description of Henri Nouwen (1932–1996), a Dutch-born Catholic priest, and professor who asked, “Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are some real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” Nouwen’s views on social responsibility could be likened to the role of the media in society. If media succeeds, or fails it’s for us to decide. Media has definitely been an instrument of healing of social issues e.g., wars, natural disasters, and racial conflicts.
The media covers stories of diverse religious faith traditions, cultures, and ethnic groups, via newspapers, magazines, books, radio, cable, TV, and the Internet. Although limited in some cultures it’s sobering that people are able to find commonalities in media. It’s clear that in faith traditions believers worship the same God, who is called different names. Many are able to attribute some degree of healing, peace, prosperity, and personal well-being because of media’s professionals.
A message that comes through loud and clear is best captured by Joseph Addision (1672–1719), an English essayist, and playwright, who said, “If you want to succeed in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.” This statement means putting one’s trust in media’s attempt to be fair. Undoubtedly these beliefs are seen in faith traditions of different editorial approaches.
Secular & Non-secular Media
It’s unwise to think that readers and viewers will respond the same way to media’s role in healing. Some critics argue the media does nothing more than promote sensational stories. It’s commonly believed, “If it bleeds it leads.” But readers could focus on the discussions and analyses in media. And taking shape though is the edification of the public that bring wholeness to the viewers’ perceptions of what they comprehend. Media does a lot to allay fears. When news is from the secular or non-secular press there are good results. People are aware of media’s role to alleviate suffering.
Healing might not necessarily be physical, but it could bring emotional stability to communities torn apart by strive. Radio and TV also serve as instruments in promoting charitable works in times of natural disasters, by raising aid for those affected by drought, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, and forest fires. So the next time you read a magazine, or flip through the pages of a newspaper, and laugh at a situation comedy, be sure to remember to volunteer for causes presented by media. For it’s good to remember that the mass media does play a role of healing in American society.