On Not Buying Media Bias

I’m going to write about what I see lacking in media reportage. This blog entry will be the segue to taking this blog in a more positive direction. I’ve always been five years ahead of what was being written about recovery–in my blogs and at HealthCentral I was in the vanguard.

My story is not sensational. I don’t have a big “chip on my shoulder” that colors how I think about psychiatry or other people or about having an illness.

The media portrays events larger-than-life. There’s no middle ground. The media loves a mouthpiece who polarizes things.

Huffington Post won’t publish me–it’s because I don’t play a “disability card” the way other people might play a “race card.” HuffPo published this article instead: “Work and Love: a Psychotic’s Recipe for Success.”

You have to be willing to have yourself labeled as a psychotic to get credibility in the media. If the guy truly were psychotic–delusional, paranoid, babbling incoherently–no one would be giving him the time of day. It’s the trend–to promote psychosis as a way of life–that I will buck every step of the way.

There’s nothing humorous about psychosis. There’s nothing life-affirming about losing your mind–there’s nothing to romanticize nor to covet about losing control of your life.

The media does trade in “black-and-white” not only in talking about “race” (and why should we divide people along color lines?) but also in stereotyping people with mental illnesses.

The media perpetuates the myth that all white people are racist and that all so-called normal people stigmatize. I’ve yet to see reporting about people who do their own thing, treat people right, and don’t conform to a myth.

As it stands, no news article is going to be published that doesn’t make a blanket statement about everyone in society. I do not conform to this mainstream media playbook bias. I don’t “fly a freak flag” or any other socially acceptable flag du jour.

If you ask me, it’s time to hold the media accountable for trading in and reinforcing stereotypes about how everyone in society acts.

It’s time to move beyond cliched reportage on people the media sees fit to pigeonhole in order to get clicks, attract eyeballs and earn advertiser dollars.

I focus on the blog and on Twitter most of all because I’m not going to compromise my integrity in order to get published elsewhere.

It’s so over in my mind to use the media to hate and blame other people; to use the media to unload the chip on your shoulder onto other people.

It’s over to not be part of the solution of healing our minds bodies and planet from toxic substances and thinking and environmental toxins. Toxic thinking is mind pollution–I want no part of this.

To end here, I’ll state my blog will continue to be a stigma-free zone. It will continue to be an independent voice on mental health. It will remain upbeat and cheerful. I will employ a sense of humor.

Most of all, I will present life-affirming stories of recovery. I will champion recovery for everyone in whatever guise recovery takes for each of us. I will NOT use stigmatizing language. I will move the blog forward.

Thank you for tuning in.

Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and athlete.

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