Friday, September 03, 2004

Sleeping At The Wheel

Certainly the Republican Convention and Bill Clinton's health are important news stories. I have to agree with Rebecca and J Mark Bertrand that the top news story of the day is the Russian hostage crises. It is especially sad due to the children involved, but I would like to address a slightly different issue. A lot of communication comes from the context from which one writes or speaks. Today we saw a lot of reports about Francis and the American political scene. It would seem that Francis is not quite here yet and the Republican Convention are just passed, so everyone knows that we need to ensure we have a story. Perhaps there are some mitigating circumstances to explain why there is/was not more on FOX news, and Google news. Perhaps the story could not be told because there was not enough reporters on the scene. Perhaps the Russian police are not as helpful to the members of the press as they are in other countries. Mitigating issues or not, there should have been a lot more coverage given the buzz on people's lips. There was no buzz about Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital nor a buzz about traffic jams on Florida Interstates. But the top story of interest by my co-workers was the Russian hostage crisis and the top story of interest to my family was the same. The media is missing it. This is not an issue of who got the scoop, but what is important. In the coverage of former President Clinton's hospital visit FOX news showed lots of clips of Clinton at political rallies, at book signings, and then of course since they could not show the story they were covering, pictures of his secret service protection unit's car. But the former President will likely be okay after surgery according to FOX news, I'm thinking the people in Russia are not. Our media and academic institutions are a part of our corperate knowledge and understanding of events. In reality, they are a part of our national defense because we as a nation understand threats and strengths based on their reporting. If they can not get the news story right today, how can they get other stories right? Are we a sleep at the wheel?
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