BY BRANDON SLOANE
The Today Show has long been considered one of the most preeminent news shows in the nation, and prides itself on its hard-hitting journalism pieces. While watching the show, one would expect to see an investigative story on a national crisis, but surprisingly, a recent headline story was on the divorce of Kim Khardashian. Not to say that a divorce isn’t important, but is a personal marital problem that has no ramifications on anyone else really something that the news media should dedicate their time to? This is a very trying time in the world right now and there are stories that are more worthy of our attention than a celebrity marriage gone wrong.
The problem with the national media becoming a vehicle for superficial “news” stories is not a recent development. For years important world events have had to take a backseat to celebrity gossip. Back in February 2007, the media was completely overtaken by the death of Anna Nicole Smith, a model and actress. Each day a new story would come out about her problems with drug abuse and her child custody battles. At the time, people would have been able to state the names of her children, what prescription drugs she was taking, and what hotel she stayed at. However, most wouldn’t have been able to say what else was happening in the world at that time. For instance, just ten days after the death of Smith on February the 18th there were 30 coordinated bombings in Southern Thailand. Also, in Italy, the Prime Minister Romano Prodi resigned after only nine months in office. How could our media, who are supposedly dedicated to making sure the people of this country remained well-informed, let such important events take a backseat to Anna Nicole Smith?
The consequences of being ill informed on important matters can be severe. If people do not know what is going on in their country and the world, how will they be able to support just causes they believe in? Recently, the Occupy Wall Street campaign has swept across the nation. People of all ages have come together to protest the greed and corruption that goes on within government. While the occupy events have gotten much national attention, many of today’s youth have no clue what the occupy campaigns are because the media is too focused on other things such as the Dr. Conrad Murray trial. To put this in perspective, the Today Show’s online website today.msnbc.msn.com, published six articles on the Murray trial this past December, as opposed to only three about the occupy protests. The overwhelming amount of Conrad Murray coverage made it difficult for a majority of Americans to find about the occupy events. Without publicity, the campaign cannot accomplish its goal of trying to end fraudulent behavior within the government.
Nowadays, it may seem impossible to find news stories with substance. However, there are still ways to stay informed on important current events. One way is to follow world news reporters on twitter, or check out websites where you can get your fix of reliable and important journalism like thedailybeast.com and Newser.com. Critics may say that great news reporting is dead, but it has only become harder to find.
People enjoy watching celebrity news because it provides them with an escape from everyday lives. But, have access to news is a privilege we shouldn’t squander. Many citizens around the world don’t have access to news uncensored by their government and would give anything to find out the truth. So to waste such a freedom on celebrity gossip is like spitting in the face of people who are fighting for the right to be informed. The news media should leave the Hollywood chitchat to E! News and get back to reporting on things that really matter.