National media’s priorities shift when Americans aren’t affected

Matt Liasse and Matt Liasse

While watching media coverage of the natural disasters occurring over the weekend, it was hard not to grow irritated with the news — almost impossible.

First, when the news of the earthquake that struck Chile surfaced, it was hard to understand just how severe it was. Of course, it takes a while for news outlets to develop a story, so let’s let that one fly.

But Saturday morning turned into Saturday afternoon, and the severity became more clear. This much was true: things were bad in Chile and Hawaii had things to worry about.

Along with a lot of other people, no amount of news coming in on the situation down south was too much. Live feeds of the earthquake flooded CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, Tweets came in left and right with breaking news and every online news outlet devoted their home page to the disaster.

As the day went on, focus was taken away from Chile, a country that has over 700 people dead from the earthquake, to Hawaii, as the state was facing a possible tsunami caused by the earthquake.

This is where the most frustration began to ring in.

While Hawaii’s coasts were packing up and preparing for the worst, cell phones all around the world buzzed from a tweet by CNN reporting “Marie Osmond’s 18-year-old son has died.”

Call me heartless, but weren’t there other more important news headlines to tweet at the time? American news outlets acted exactly how they should’ve and placed celebrity news right on par with a natural disaster (an act other countries overseas hate about American media).

Our fascination with the celebrities of America needs to not overshadow the other more serious news. Here’s a more reasonable way of thinking: hard news about Obama’s plan for health care needs to stay on CNN, while Brangelina’s baby pictures need to stay on E!.

The tsunami just missed Hawaii and a “dodged a bullet” remark was made, but the time to celebrate was not upon the world just yet, much to CNN’s surprise. The minute Hawaii was in the clear, coverage on Osmond continued, all while Japan was the next target for a tsunami.

Call me heartless (again), but I still think the threat against one of our neighboring countries is a little more important than Osmond. And as the night went on, Japan didn’t receive a quarter of the coverage Hawaii did.

Where the American news outlet’s priorities lay are a bit disturbing and hopefully will begin to shift.

The attitude that one dead celebrity overpowers 700 dead Chileans is backward. The attitude of the disaster being over the minute it doesn’t affect Americans anymore is ridiculous.

Yahoo! News offered another example of bad priorities when they decided to report Gatorade dropping Tiger Woods’ sponsorship or Jennifer Lopez’s career being in trouble the minute Hawaii was no longer in danger.

How do the troubles of the millionaires outrank the troubles of the normal civilians dying from collapsing buildings?

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