Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Whatsoever things are just and pure,-agreeable to the rules of justice and righteousness in all our dealings with men, and without the impurity or mixture of sin. Whatsoever things are lovely and of good report, that is, amiable; that will render us beloved, and make us well spoken of, as well as well thought of, by others. [Matthew Henry Commentary]
A study from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism asked thousands of people around the world what sort of news was most important to them. International news beat out celebrity and "fun" news by a margin of two-to-one. Economic and political news finished even higher. But what happens when we stop asking readers what's important and start looking at what they actually read? Derek Thompson with The Atlantic claims that most Americans lie about what they actually read. He explains:
[On June 17, 2014], the most important story in the world, according to every major American newspaper this morning, is the violent splintering of Iraq. It was the front-page and top-of-the-homepage story in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and more � But despite Iraq's prominent location on every major newspaper, the most-read stories on those papers' websites aren't about Iraq, at all.
So what did we actually read on June 17, 2014? The top stories across the big media outlets focused on the World Cup, a YouTube game, gluten and postpartum depression, the Miss America Pageant, and the Video Music Awards. But the biggest stories on news outlets weren't even news stories. They were quizzes, lists, and emotional poppers.
Thompson concludes, "Ask audiences what they want, and they'll tell you vegetables. Watch them quietly, and they'll mostly eat candy." [Derek Thompson, "Why Audiences Hate Hard News - And Love Pretending Otherwise," The Atlantic (June 2014)]
We all should stop and take the time to focus our thoughts on what is important and place our sights there, in a place honorable, pure, lovely and admirable. These things are excellent and worthy of praise.