Terrorism, natural disasters and mass shootings; these are the horrors that societies everywhere are dealing with and hearing about on a regular basis.
Everyday, Americans pick up their newspapers, computers and phones to see tear-jerking headlines about the latest terrorist attacks at home and abroad, the newest verbal recklessness of public officials or the updated death toll of any given natural disaster.
The news and media outlets have seemed to be geared toward over-covering certain specific affairs, such as the Trump administration, where they can put effort elsewhere. Furthermore, informing the public consistently on exclusively saddening aspects of a story as opposed to general information of why the events occured while also neglecting to cover more relevant stories, has become an issue.
Recently, there has been mass fixation of the media on Trump and his cabinet, and the constant coverage of every minor transgression in speech from Trump or the administration does not need to be front page all the time. There are plenty of other subjects to discuss as opposed to every controversial statement from the current presidency, and the media should broaden their views and talk more about the actions the administration is taking, not always the rhetoric. While the coverage of the president is important, flooding headlines and a page with extensive articles about the most minor transgressions in speech is not necessary.
As far as violent news coverage goes, it is fair to acknowledge that the “if it bleeds it reads” mentality and marketing scheme exists among many media outlets. People do want to hear about the sinister events of the time, but not every day or every week should the front page be loaded with strictly the cynical details of the story. It’s important for the general population to be well informed about events such as disasters and shootings, but the media needs to create more page space to cover other disciplines, such as technological advances that may become relevant to citizens in the future. It’s the media’s responsibility to cover these shootings and attacks, but not to obsess themselves with them.
Furthermore, it is also the responsibility of the media to do everything in their power to report the true intentions and reasons for why the U.S. is involved in certain events and places abroad, and encourage a high level of transparency between the government and the general public.
While the headlines blew up over National Football League (NFL) players simply taking a knee in protest, which though controversial is a constitutionally protected right, front pages everywhere could have been filled with stories of regarding the decades wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. These are conflicts the citizens of the U.S. deserve to know more about, and not always in sob stories, but updates on the actions being took in the region, or how the U.S. is progressing to finalize its efforts, which would be much more relatable to readers.
At the beginning of a catastrophe, the coverage is intense and in great quantity; however, as time goes on, coverage often slowly declines, while there are still developments worth covering that gain light coverage or uncovered altogether.
The bulk of the beginning of a story gets an abundance of attention, but the tail end of certain stories are left alone.
For example, when hurricanes ripped through the southern U.S., pictures and coverage of the damage were ubiquitous, and seen on every platform possible. The southeastern region of the U.S. was beleaguered with an array of emotional and physical hardships. When the media covers events such as the recent hurricanes, they have a responsibility to cover the disaster itself, but also the relief efforts. If someone looked at the news weeks after, there is little said about the recovery.
It is topics like the Iraq War, the war in Afghanistan and U.S. military efforts abroad as a whole that get put on the backburner for other internal issues. And when American lives are being taken and altered by these conflicts, they deserve more coverage and their efforts recognized. There is a problem that needs fixing, and the media needs to shift their focus toward coverage more relevant to its readers, as well as to cover more about why events occur abroad and encourage transparency, not the cynical details. Only then could there be a change in the public’s perception of the media’s priorities.