Source: Photo by behnam jaafarianpoor on Unsplash Most journalists want to connect with audiences through good storytelling that reveals the wider world. They hope, in many cases, to move audiences to empathy. This aim was a driver of journalists' writing about the plight of children separated from their families at the border during the summer of 2018, for example. “There was a duty to humanize them. To counter political language such as ‘illegal alien,’” one observer wrote. “But what such stories really hope to do is humanize their readers, listeners, spectators: The reporting aims to make us see beyond legal, national or partisan labels into the hearts of migrants, to awaken us to empathy” (Bahadur, 2019, p. 12). But here’s the thing. We know that generating empathy is difficult, because it requires people to spend emotional energy that they’re usually reluctant to spend. And we also know that audiences can easily suffer from … [Read more...] about The Dilemma of Empathy and the News
Source: Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore/Flickr Many writers have struggled to figure out what’s been guiding our new President’s decisions. But even before Donald Trump took office, he’d modified, even reversed, himself on so many issues that where he really stood, what he truly believed in, had been most challenging to decipher. Populist and anti-establishment as he’s claimed, is he for the rights of the worker?—or, given the people he’s chosen to surround himself with, does he favor the wealthy titans of big business, who traditionally have taken advantage of laborers and attempted to destroy their unions? As he’s repeatedly argued, is his ultimate concern for the safety of all Americans?—or do the strangely xenophobic, anti-immigration policies he’s tried to put in place betray a profound bias against non-Christians? Further, are his words professing his commitment to universal health care reflective of genuine empathy … [Read more...] about Donald Trump: Is He as Unpredictable as He Seems?