Where Did the News Go?

As an aspiring journalist, the news, specifically the content presented on television, has been frustrating me as of late. While ABC’s Good Morning America is headlining Justin Bieber’s “bad boy” habits, CNN is busy covering the latest goings-on of the Georges (Zimmerman and Alexander Louis). None of which I consider newsworthy, let alone labeled breaking news. Stories like these only make me worry about this country’s priorities – and I am way too young to start sprouting greys. According to a recent Gallup poll, 55% of Americans turn on their televisions to get their daily dose of news (just as a comparison, the Internet came in at only 21%). Some of the top networks included Fox News, CNN, ABC, and MSNBC. Yet as aforementioned, these networks are prioritizing their stories in all the wrong way. And because of this, citizens may fall prey to receiving skewed information, the wrong information, or no real information at all. Am I the only one that was baffled by CNN’s choice to keep flashing its breaking news banner about royal baby George being shown off to the public during President Obama’s speech today about the economy and the unification of the middle class?

Have any of these anchors and producers seen HBO’s The Newsroom? I’m sure MacKenzie McHale and Will McAvoy are off somewhere shaking their heads in disbelief. Either that or hanging them in shame. The television news media needs to get back to news that is actually newsworthy. For instance – and I’m sure I’m going to ruffle some feathers here, especially since I am fairly liberal – why in the hell was the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case given so much attention? I have gone back and examined the evidence presented from this case, and there was zero evidence that Zimmerman shot Martin based on some sort of racial discrimination. Here’s my breakdown – you can take it or leave it: No, Zimmerman should not have tailed Martin – he’s not a cop. The evidence illustrated that Martin ended up being on top of Zimmerman during the scuffle, and thanks to Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws (which I don’t necessarily agree with), Zimmerman was able to defend himself. In this case, it just happened to be with a deadly firearm. But that’s not my real point here – the point is that so much of the coverage given to this story was slanted so that it became a racial issue – one that the President has jumped on along with celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Jay Z. But if we want to talk about race, how about producers and anchors alike come together to promote the bigger issues this country really faces? The Zimmerman and Martin case was purely a sad situation all around, but what’s even sadder is that over 70 individuals were killed in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend thanks to gang violence. Where’s the continuing coverage of this? Where are the civil rights leaders’ rallying cries to action to stop this atrocity? Between the two, you tell me – which is more newsworthy? Which is a greater cause for concern? Which is the one that should really have us talking, have us debating? Which is the story you really need to be informed about? Because that’s what is newsworthy – the stories and the issues that genuinely impact our society and the ones that create intelligent citizens by presenting unbiased information so that said citizens can exercise their right to vote and do it in such a way that they are able to make informed decisions.

I guarantee we won’t get there by covering Justin Bieber’s tragic fashion sense. And I hate to break it you baby George, but you aren’t the first royal baby, and you sure as hell aren’t the first George. You may be cute as a button, and while I believe there is a time and place for my love of your mum and dad (cue the British accent I’ve always wanted), your birth should not overshadow President Obama’s address to our nation, especially when it concerns our suffering economy.

But I do believe we can get there. The news can inform voters of the real issues. Let’s focus on the facts, let’s do real news. Let’s have our Don Quixote moment.

So please television networks, from me to you, I get that ratings are important, but are they so important we will let these countries’ should-be priorities fall to the wayside? I’ll raise a cup to you and say, here’s to a little more news, and a little less TMZ.

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