Saturday, May 12, 2007

Opinions of Media in the US: Weapons of Mass Distraction

There. I said it. That’s what I think the media is pretty much all about. I am surprised, along with so many people, at this simple, very obvious fact – the media is more of a distraction than a way to communicate with people.

Rightly expressed by my co-fellow, Wafa (Palestine), “When the tragedy at Virginia tech took place, there was still more news about Anna Nicole Smith’s baby and controversies being covered more than tragedy itself. And of course, why isn’t anyone really addressing the question as to why guns are being allowed on campus, or why it is so easy to buy guns. While it might be an issue that one political party or the other may wish to hold national debates on, if the media would just inform the public on the issues involved from both sides, that might just be one less issue that the candidates will be debating on.

Presently if you ask the average joe on the road as to why guns haven’t been banned, he will give you one of two replies: either that he doesn’t know or the casual response that every citizen has the right to protect himself. Beyond that, nothing.

Believe it or not, America is engaged in war. Not in its own land but it definitely has a large number of American soldiers on its behalf. How much of the news actually covers the war? Except for the casual news update, do viewers in the US really even know what is going on there? Wafa was absolutely right in pointing out very early on that though the US is in the middle of such a huge war, you don’t get the same feeling through the news and media.

While I write this down, my mailbox is flooded with news reports and people writing to me about the violence happening in Pakistan. Though most of the unbelievable acts are happening in Islamabad, hundreds of miles away from my home in Karachi, I find the front page of the BBC and CNN international, along with countless other news sources, having the worst bits highlighted. Yes. I fear the security of my home and my family and it is ironic that the same media sources don’t spend as much time to push the raging battles in Iraq on the same front pages.

I read the news reports about Pakistan and I want to run back home and be with my family. Do the newsrooms really care to emit such panic amongst the people of the US by regularly reporting about the war in Iraq?

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