Morning View: We Should Be Grateful to Those Who Bring Hope in Dark Days

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), July 11, 2001 | Go to article overview

Morning View: We Should Be Grateful to Those Who Bring Hope in Dark Days


First published in 1737BOMBARDIER dropped a billion-pound piece of good news into our midst yesterday; and, in the wake of the peaceful passage of this year's Drumcree, Portadown 2000 spokespersons could talk credibly about the steadily growing confidence in the troubled town, that it might once again become "the hub of the north".

The media are often accused of only being interested in "bad news" and of almost wilfully ignoring the good. It is an age-old problem: if a dog bites a man, it is not really news; however, if a man bites a dog, that is news.

It is all too often the tragically bizarre events which make "news". The fact that 99.9 per cent of the population might go about its business and pursue individual destinies, without undue interference with or from other citizens, is not news.

You, the reader, would not be particularly interested in so-called "good news". It seems to be a mildly venal part of our human nature that all of us are usually more interested in the things that go wrong than in those which go right.

So today's headlines and general media chatter are more likely to be about the vexed peace process than about the good news from Bombardier or from Portadown.

If you feel you have no responsibility in all of this, then you can, Pilate-like, blame the media, or the politicians or both. But who elects the politicians and who buys the newspapers?

All of us, in fact, are responsible, insofar as we are citizens: even those who do not vote or who never read newspapers are responsible by default - and it could be argued strongly that Northern Ireland's long agony is at least as much the responsibility of those who did nothing, as it is of those who cared enough to do something, even if it might often have been the wrong thing.

This is not to argue for fanatical involvement of every citizen in every aspect of decision-making: most of us have too many other things to do - which is why we have representative democracy, and, hopefully, reasonably balanced and competent media.

But every one of us can be involved in improving the daily texture of our lives, by doing well whatever it is that we do. …

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