An Open Letter to Everyone: It’s Time to Occupy Fear-Mongering Journalism

Be part of the FB community to Occupy Fear-Mongering Journalism @occupyFMJ and Twitter @occupyFMJ

Dear Everyone,

What if the world we live in, the one the fear-mongering news media has created, what if that world didn’t exist?
What if the world we live in was filled with love and hope and goodness?
What if the world we live in was less violent than it’s ever been in the history of our planet?
What if we believed that?
What if it were true?
What if you woke each morning and lived your day believing, knowing, embracing that truth?

Sometimes I feel like I am sitting in a jury box. Sequestered before a wall of screens, being fed only the information the news media wants me to believe. We’ve all been sucked in. But, I’m tired of that violent, raging world portrayed by the news media. I don’t believe we live in a world like that.

What if the horrible world the news media feeds us isn’t our world at all?
What if everything they report is a skewed version of reality?
What if we are just mice in a maze to them?
What if we believed that?
What if that were true?

What if we were all equal?
What if there was no racism?
What if the general population was filled with empathy?
What if we believed that?
What if that were true?

What if our world was doomed?
What if we had no hope?
What if everyone was out for themselves
and didn’t care about the health of anyone else?
What if we believed that?
What if it were true?

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of believing that the world is as horrible as the fear-mongering news media portrays. What do you say we give them a run for their money, literally?

What if we take a step back from all of the fear-mongering stories the “media-driven” world asks us to believe, and instead we ask ourselves, “What if that weren’t true?”

This is a call to action. Let’s join together and occupy fear-mongering journalism.

I don’t want to remain in the toxic world the media has created. I am ready to rise above the sewage of journalism today and take a stand for the great world we actually live in.
Before you tell me that’s not true—our world isn’t great—what if it were true?
What if our world was great?
What if we believed that?
What if it were true?

I’m sure you’ve heard of the power of thoughts concept.
and how your brain believes what you tell it?
What about the parenting concept that when you only pay attention to the bad behavior
it just perpetuates more bad behavior—because bad attention is better than no attention?
What about violence begets violence?
What about the power of intentional living concept?
and the belief that what you put out there
is exactly what you get back?

It seems that an awful lot of time spent on social media today is used for pointing out everything wrong in the world, for sharing all the negative stories, many of which are NOT true. Even our personal stories are not true.  They may be our “personal truth” as we see them through our skewed version of reality based on our paradigms and beliefs set long ago in childhood, but even those we sometimes have to ask ourselves, what if those stories I tell myself were not true? How would that feel?

Just like our own truths the we tell ourselves everyday, fear-mongering journalism makes us believe in an altered state of reality. We hear their stories and see the same story shared over and over again across platforms, and we start to believe. I mean if they said it, it must be true, right? And once they fill our minds with the same story over and over again, the paradigms they are pushing become part of us, of our beliefs. Don’t they? We can’t forget what we hear over and over again. Just like a jury can’t forget something they hear even after a judge asks it to be stricken from the record. It’s too late. The damage is done.

The power of the press … If you ask me, I think all fear-mongering journalists abuse that power. They must be held to a higher standard. They simply must. I work in advertising. I understand the use of scare tactics. But, even in advertising we must hold ourselves to a higher standard. Why? Because we know how effective scare tactics are.

Did you know fear is one of the top advertising techniques to get people to react?

“Fear appeals strike a nerve with people who have doubts about things or do not know about things,” he explains. “They play on our inherent fears of the unknown or that something is going to kill us. This is why scare tactics are stunningly effective.” — Todd Van Slyke, an advertising instructor at The Illinois Institute of Art – Schaumburg.

In an article written by Phillip Pullella, for Reuters, he discusses Pope Francis’s address to the leaders of Italy’s National Journalists Guild where Pope Francis referred to fear-mongering journalism as a form of “terrorism.” Pullella goes on to discuss that “spreading rumors is an example of …” as the Pope put it “terrorism, of how you can kill a person with your tongue.”

The article quotes Pope Francis again stating “This is even more true for journalists because their voice can reach everyone and this is a very powerful weapon.” Read full article here.

What would happen if …

I’m wondering what would happen if we stopped watching? Stopped encouraging? Stopped sharing all the fear the media spreads daily?

What if we stopped believing everything the news media delivers daily, hourly, by the minute?

What if instead, we believed nothing? What if none of it were true? What would that feel like?

What would happen if we took personal responsibility for everything in our world?
Yes, I said personal responsibility.
Your mind may have just gone negative, but I’m also talking about the positive.
Take personal responsibility for that too.

What would happen if we stopped focusing on all the drama the media creates and realize that we have the power to stop the madness in our world, just with our thoughts.

We have the power.
We are powerful.
And as long as we keep giving power to their negativity and fear,
by sharing their articles, their words, and watching their shows,
the media will continue churning it out.

“Advertisers do things that are effective. When they are no longer effective, they stop using them,” states Todd Van Slyke.

What would happen if we only shared proactive stories, ones that not only presented a problem, but also posed positive ways of addressing the problem?

Even movies have a positive ending. We are always left with hope when we walk out of a theater.
What would our world look like if we “happified” our news?
What if the majority of news was about all the amazing things in the world, and only a teeny tiny portion of the news touched on the bad?
What if we focused on the good behavior of the world’s children instead of the bad, and rewarded them for being great?
What if we dedicated airtime to recognizing outstanding humans and gave zero airtime to the people who behaved badly?
Is that a form of censorship?
Yes. I suppose it is. But, like a child, if we reward the good and ignore the bad
would we create a tipping point?

What if, as individuals, we shared stories of the strength of humanity, the power of communities, the resolve, and tenacity of the people?
What would that look like?
Would that feel better?

What if we believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that humans were inherently good?
How would that feel? That belief?
What if it were true? That humans were inherently good?
What if we believed that to be true?
What if we lived our lives knowing that to be true?

Many people do their best to surround themselves with positive people and avoid negative people,
successful people often only hang out with other successful people,
and people who are recovering detach from their old friends.

Because they know they must surround themselves with all the support they need to stay on high ground. They know.
Why are we not the same with fear-mongering media?
Why do we give all things horrible in the world their 15 minutes of fame?
Why are we feeding the flames?
Why do we stoop to their level?
When we share their stories that’s exactly what we are doing
even if we disagree with them.
We are giving them power.

What if we imagined a future world, where everything was idyllic, utopian, equal, empathic, accepting?
What if we lived each day like we already lived in that world?
What would that feel like?
What if we believed that?
What if it were true?

What would our world look like if we stopped allowing fear, hate, and dysfunction into our lives?

I’m not saying to ignore important issues.
I am saying to be proactive, not reactive.
I am saying to think win/win.
I am saying to begin with the end in mind.

Join me in Occupying Fear-Mongering Journalism today, by making these 5 Vows:

  1. I will no longer give a voice to reactive, irresponsible, fear-mongering journalism.
    Stop liking the stories.
    Stop sharing them on social media.
    Stop engaging in conversation about them.
    Stop providing them with an ounce of fuel.
  2. I will DEMAND Solutions-Style Reporting
    by sharing and supporting journalists and publications where stories not only present a problem, but also offer proactive ways of addressing the problem.
  3. I will remind myself every time I see another attempt from the fear-mongering media to be divisive, to ask one question: “What if what they were saying weren’t true?”
  4. I will believe that the world we live in is filled with MORE good than hatred, rage, and violence.
    Believe it to be true, and stop perpetuating the lies.
  5. I will like and share on social media to make this movement strong and be heard. 
    Share with the community what you are doing to stop fear-mongering journalism dead in its tracks.
    Be part of the FB community to Occupy Fear-Mongering Journalism @occupyFMJ and Twitter @occupyFMJ

Drop by Drop, we can be the change. The world we want is already here, waiting for us.
The world we want for our children and grandchildren.
Stop the negative free fall. Energy is a powerful thing.
Let’s be the tipping point.

Yours truly,
Marla Carlton


This article references concepts presented in two books, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey and “Loving What is: Four Questions that Can Change Your Life “ by Byron Katie.

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