My friend Tom Munnecke often writes about the positive effect of good news, and the ill effect of constantly bombarding people with negative news media.
While hiking this morning, my friend Craig Johnson was talking about how his family just rented Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine", and the message in the film: news in Canada does not stress violence (does not give creepy people their 15 minutes of fame), and while Canadians own a comparable number of guns as Americans, the number of deaths by gun murder is extremely small in Canada compared with the US.
I think that we can all agree that the mega-corporations who own the US news media have the legal right to broadcast violent, sensational material in order to maximize their corporate profits. After all, except for a wink and a nod, the FCC and the government basically let these huge media companies do whatever they can bribe (in my opinion - sometimes people also call this "soft money" campaign contributions) Congress to let them get away with. The news media is not for the public good.
A thought for the day: what would be the effect of news coverage of good things happening in Iraq? For example, off duty soldiers helping people, communities pulling together to face challenges caused by lack of electricity and clean water, etc. Sure, the greedy news media companies might not make quite as much money, but wouldn't the effect on society be positive?
Let's get real: people in the US, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia, etc. are basically good even if their leaders are frequently screwed up in their agendas. No amount of negative news coverage will change my mind that people everywhere are for the most part decent and moral, and they care most about earning a living and raising their families in whatever state of peace that they can get.