Can "Bullied Mom" Set Precedent For More Positive News Stories?

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 7.50.48 PMHow often do you watch, listen to or read the news and say to yourself regarding a particular story or stories: “That’s news?” A friend of mine recently asked me that very question after watching a Channel 7 story on a woman from Fort Gratiot, Michigan who was bullied by two other women in a coffee shop and then proceeded to do the unexpected: she paid for the women’s coffee.

The story caught the attention of ABC World News Tonight out of New York, while Channel 7 did a more “local” take.  Soon, the story had become a Facebook and internet sensation. News? Absolutely and a welcome and refreshing change of pace from the types of stories that typically dominate the headlines.  In fact, I sometimes quip that the news should be called the “bad news” as, all too often, we are exposed to our society’s lowest common denominator. A car jacking. A shooting. A rape. A murder. A robbery. If one didn’t know better you would think it was unsafe to leave your home for fear of being a victim.  More often that not in our society, people are good and good things happen.  The news does cover them; I would just argue not often enough.

That is why the tale of the Michigan mom is special and deserved attention.  Bullying continues to be a real problem in our society albeit typically involving school kids. And here, rather than the protagonist lashing out against her antagonists, perhaps with verbal or physical violence that is also all too common today, this special women “killed them with kindness” – paying for their coffee and walking away.

Good for her, good for Channel 7 and good for ABC News.  They all proved in recent days that most people are inherently good and that those people deserve to be recognized more often for their example-setting behavior. Hopefully it will help set a trend for positive news coverage that’s also good for business. After all, positive stories get shared as often if not more so than negative ones on social media. That means more clicks, share of audience and, one would hope in the end, a spotlight on more “good guys” and less on bad.