Television has been my profession for 21, going on 22 years. I am 42. That means half of my life, I have dedicated to this craft. And I consider it an honor to be invited into people’s homes each day. With that said, media was my baby before I had any babies. And although a lot has changed over the last two decades, one thing remains the same. I am fiercely protective of the industry. And I will defend it, even when I am no longer in it, because I have seen the best of humanity in this business.
I was recently reading an article by Rachel Hollis on her Instagram page where she was talking about a race she just completed. It was a sweet post, then boom … out of no where, she makes a jab at the media – basically saying the world is a good place, even though the media wants you to think otherwise! What?!? (Sidenote, if you have been living under a rock, Ms. Hollis is a well known author and motivational speaker.) I found myself wondering, why even bring the media into this post about a half marathon when the point of her writing was to praise all of the volunteers and helpers? But more than anything, her comment was offensive because it’s simply a false statement. So although 99.99999% of the time, I never comment on something I find objectionable, I felt compelled to at least share another perspective. My perspective. Keep in mind, I really think Rachel Hollis is doing fantastic work and uplifting women. I respect that deeply. But, when you have 1.3 million people following your Instagram page, I truly believe you have a responsibility to think about what you put out into the world. Words are powerful. And as a life coach, Rachel should know that better than anyone. Regardless, this is my response to her post:
“I am a fan and love to see you making a difference! With that said, you have to realize people hang on your every word. Comments like, “The media wants to scare people into believing that the whole world is a dumpster fire.” is not true. Please hear me out, as I speak in a kind tone. As a journalist for 21 yrs, coming from NBC in Charlotte, to FOX in Atlanta to now ABC in B’ham …I promise you, no journalist ever goes to college for 4 yrs, then works around the clock, making $20,000 annually …working overnights & every Christmas, with the objective to make the world look bad. We unfortunately do have to cover horrible stories. But we also fight like crazy for freedom of speech, so people like you & me can speak freely on podcasts, social media and in public. Journalists put their lives on the line, going into war zones to make sure those without a voice are heard. We cover big moments, like the collapse of the Berlin Wall and 9/11, so our kids can understand our history. We leave our families behind to cover severe weather, so other families can take shelter from tornados/flooding. We are at the border, in schools, and at Katrina, to spread information, so the world can fight to end injustice. We uncover scams/frauds, protecting the elderly that are taken advantage of. We inform people on what to watch out for when it comes to measles and e-coli. We cover great stories too – like heart transplants & adoption. We help reunite pets with their owners evident in the CA fires..and children with their parents by broadcasting amber alerts. I ask you think more carefully before painting “the media” with a wide brush. The same media that covers “dumpster fires” is also giving you a platform on national TV to promote your books & your conferences. With all due respect, your comment can come across as irresponsible to media professionals who work their tails off to HELP mankind. Thank you for being brave enough to see another perspective. xo!”
She didn’t respond to my comment. Nor did her husband, and I tagged them both. I will still sleep well because I know the media saves lives. I’ve been in a newsroom for a long time, so I’ve seen it first hand, multiple times. Let me be clear, I am not trying to convince you to love the media. It is your choice to feel the same as Rachel Hollis does … but please understand no media professional I have EVER met has intentions of scaring people. In fact, I think everyone should know that many of us still have nightmares about the horrible stories we have had to cover and witness in our career. Watching a baby girl get buried, staying up all night with her mother crying on the living room floor, then making yourself go to work the next morning to put out the mug shot of the man who committed her rape and murder, in hopes helping the police catch him … well, that takes courage. So unless you have done that Rachel Hollis, please don’t speak like your opinion is the truth. It is not my truth.