Consuming Junk Media & Cleaning Up My Own Press

by Adrienne Ryan, Funeral Co-ordinator, BEd, Brisbane, Australia

Recent events with the media’s treatment of the Universal Medicine (UniMed) group have made me aware of how inaccurate and sensationalised reporting can be. In the case of UniMed, this came at the expense of the true story – which is nothing short of inspiring. I have known Serge Benhayon and his family for over ten years. I read with amazement and disappointment the twisted presentations of them, their lives and work, accompanied by a dawning understanding of how I had just accepted reported information over the years without really feeling into the quality of what was being presented. Here were stories that I knew to be misleading, sensationalised, biased and wrong in so many ways, but if not for knowing the subject so well, I wondered how much I would have accepted as truth?

I came to understand that in my own relationship with the media I had stopped feeling what was presented and relied instead on the fact that because something was printed in a major newspaper this alone confirmed its accuracy. I’m not an ignorant person – it’s more that I didn’t want to know what was really going on locally or in the world. I found it hard to accept that the world was a mess and that people were inflicting such suffering on themselves and others. I felt powerless to change or fix it so I opted to avoid it, not by ignoring the media but by no longer acknowledging what I was feeling with what I read or watched.  I looked to the press to be entertained instead of accurately informed.

There is a responsibility to be discerning of the quality of what is presented in the media, and for paying attention to the possibilities behind what is being said: is it to inform, incite, ridicule, persuade, belittle, judge, scare, sensationalise, entertain, distract, sway, tell, sell, teach, preach, dramatise or to present the whole picture, without bias or emotion? I understand that there is real media out there, but for now it is up to me to discern this for myself, instead of relying on an editor or a claim to truth to do it for me.

A little while after the media attention on Universal Medicine I was out walking and became aware of the thoughts running through my head. They were rubbish and I knew it, but I realised that sometimes I didn’t notice the quality of my thoughts until it was too late. I took on what they presented and didn’t question or feel into what was behind them. It felt like there was an ‘internal media’ running inside my head 24 hours a day.

The thoughts I had and the stories I ran, the features and the bylines were all there inside my head, going to press every moment. With some I just read the headline and moved on, others I got hooked into and took on the whole story. Most of those stories were rubbish, junk journalism, sloppy stories, outright lies and misperceptions about myself, others and the world that I (in my emptiness) can gobble up, without a second thought. It was a toxic diet. I didn’t eat junk food but I had allowed a constant diet of junk with my internal media. I had begun to discern media externally but here I was, editor-in-chief of my own internal press…  and it was shabby. The ‘stories’ would come in from all over – why someone hadn’t called me; worry about money; uncertainty around my work; what I could’ve said in a conversation long gone; did my hair look alright… and on and on. It wasn’t the stories that were the problem though – it was me, in the editor’s chair, who let them go through to the keeper or not. I let lots go through without regard for their quality or influence over my perceptions of myself and the world. Sometimes I might stop for confirmation of facts, but mostly I allowed these stories to go to press.

Why? I am by world standards intelligent, yet if the definition of intelligence is the ability to make choices that look after myself, then consuming junk food or junk media without discernment of its compromising effects doesn’t seem so smart.   

We have a global obesity problem for all to see, but what if there was a visual correlation for the diet of junk media that we indulge in?  What if we are what we ‘consume’ in every sense? Is it possible that obesity, weight issues and heaviness of being are related not just to food, but to the quality of what we consume through all our senses combined – hearing, seeing, touching, tasting and feeling? What if there were weight loss centres that dealt with the diet of what we ‘consume’ for our reading, listening and viewing ‘pleasure’? We get obese from too much food and a sedentary lifestyle, but what happens when we consume too much junk media, junk music, junk literature? What would be healthy choices if what we read, watched and listened to could be measured for ‘empty calories’ that stir us up as they weigh us down?

There on my walk with the rubbish internal media flowing, I began to understand that cleaning up the press began with me: that my demand actually determined the quality of press that was supplied. As far as my internal media went, I got to feel how my demand sometimes came from believing that I was not good enough, got things wrong, wasn’t living life right and so I looked for stories that made me feel better (i.e. focus on people less fortunate than me), or stories that made me feel worse and confirmed me as not ok (i.e. focus on people who were better than me – in any and every way). I was consuming a lot of drama that wound me up or dragged me down and either way there was no rest. Another of my demands was to not know what was really going on (but still appearing to want to know), and the supply for this was snippets of facts wrapped up in fairy floss or cotton wool instead of the true picture.

As I began to pay attention to the quality of my inner-press and the effect it had on my physical and mental state of being, I started to axe certain stories that weren’t accurate or true and began to discern what the feeling was of a piece. Even if the words sounded right, if the feeling didn’t, I knew it wasn’t a keeper. I also began to notice how I was in myself, what I was looking for – what my demand was. Gradually, the quality of my internal media went from rubbish to beginning to have the qualities of respectful expression – truth, tenderness and care.

Cleaning up the press is an inside job: the more I develop truth, respect, tenderness and care within myself, the more I can recognise when it is present in what I read, listen to or watch – internally and externally. I then have a choice to accept what is presented or to understand that it is tainted, skewed or off centre for reasons I may not know, but can feel nonetheless.

650 thoughts on “Consuming Junk Media & Cleaning Up My Own Press

  1. I love the idea that cleaning up the junk media starts with me. Of course it is my choice what I choose to consume. The important thing to realise is that it comes with an energy that I end up with inside me if I consume it. For the present time my feeling is that almost all media is junk media. I know it is a sweeping statement but regardless of that it feels true to me.

  2. A brilliant article Adrienne reminding us of the responsibility we all hold to clean up our own press if we are wanting any true change to occur with the media. By being more accountable in our own lives we set a new standard that reflects to others the importance of energetic integrity to be the foundation with everything in life.

  3. This is just so brilliant. Cleaning up the press is an inside job – I so agree. We can lament over how much junk there is in the media/world, but it doesn’t have to mean that we have to consume and take it all in and become that. And where do these self-critical, judgmental thoughts come from? It is amazing that the more we say yes to what is true, the more we empower ourselves to be able to see through what is not true.

    1. ‘Cleaning up the press is an inside job ..’ I agree Fumyio, this is a powerful statement of truth. If we were all to apply this then there is no way we would accept the lies, deceit and gossip of the current media culture.

  4. It just occurred to me: we do know the media lies and sometimes it feels like we just have to give up because it is not possible for us to track down every incident to prove if the reported story is true or not, but, do I know and truly care what is going on in my own proximity of family/work/friends/community? For me, it feels like there’s a fundamental lack of true connection and also the willingness to be open to each other. If that is how I am living, just sharing and showing the bits that would suit my own agenda, can I expect anything but to come back? Not very likely.

  5. It is interesting that in the short time since this blog was published there is now a new word to describe junk media that is more succinct, fake news! We have gotten so used to dis-information, we gave it a name and moved on without questioning it! Is this not the same as walking around in the dark, barefoot in a room full of mousetraps?

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