Opinion

Media to blame for ignorance

Growing anti-American sentiment around the world remained at a high level; some people believe deserved it. This anti-American resentment might be blamed on the American press, who in its long standing dedication to journalistic excellence, have managed to skew foreign news, essentially reporting the news advertisers want to see.
There is little doubt those lives lost in September were valuable. Yet not more valuable either than the lives lost that day in other parts of the world. Setting standards to report deaths in regions diminishes the worth of life. It’s wrong, completely unfair. The public should be wary of the American press, as the government uses the media to further its foreign policy. For example, during the Afghani air raids, the U.S. reports of casualties differed from those of the Taliban. It doesn’t matter who was wrong or right. But there is little doubt the media was used as a propaganda machine.
Journalists may argue they are giving the public what it wants. But it is not that Americans don’t care about any other part of the world except Afghanistan and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; it’s just that that’s about all America hears. What about the question of the AIDS epidemic and cancer deaths in countries like South Africa or Thailand? These deaths are just as horrible as that of Israelis and Palestinians killed in a gunfight in an east bank settlement, wouldn’t you think that? If the press gives the public the tools and knowledge they need to form their decisions. Their decisions could stop the inefficient allocation of foreign aid and heal the effects of genocide and starvation in Africa. The American people are willing to help, but they just need to learn about these issues.
It’s important for Americans to learn about the world out there, after all America is a melting pot, and nearly every person here today has roots based in that outside world, be they first or tenth generation Americans. A large number of people emigrate to the United States every year, making it one of the most popular “refugee camps” in the world. But that issue aside, Americans need to learn more about what’s really going on in the world on the other side of the ocean if anything to make sure that it doesn’t ever spread to America’s shores.
The media has to step up, grow out of its shell and objectively actually report the story. The numbers don’t matter. Where a person dies is not important. It’s life that matters. What is important is that a life was cut short-that’s the story.

Faris al-Haisa is a sophomore majoring in political science.

February 1, 2002

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Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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