The Spokesman

With scandals plaguing the American system, global crises are being ignored

Eamon Morris, Managing Editor

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Every morning I go through a similar routine. I stumble out of bed, stagger to my desk, and open my laptop to check the news. And every morning, I see similar stories. It seems that every morning, there’s a new scandal. Another victim of Roy Moore comes forward. Another Hollywood executive is fired for sexual harassment. Another corrupt politician is busted with ties to Russia. And like a telescope, the media focuses on these stories, often leaving global issues at the bottom of their webpages and at the end of their broadcasts.

I’m not saying that the issues dominating the media aren’t important. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. The recent exposure of the corruption and perversion of powerful people is wonderful. But if the media is going to devote screenspace to national scandals, it must be willing to devote an equal amount of screen space to global issues.

There’s a mass genocide of the Rohingya Muslim community going on in Myanmar. There’s a deadly outbreak of plague in Madagascar. There’s a nuclear war brewing with North Korea. But as I write this, the headlines on CNN and Fox news both deal with more localized issues.

One could argue that because CNN and Fox news are based in the United States, their primary obligation to the American people is to focus on American stories. But I want to point out that even major stories in the United States are being brushed aside by scandal. A shooting at a New Mexico high school is a mere mention on most news sites. The opioid crisis barely gets two square inches of screen space on the average website. The devotion of the media to scandals has gotten so extreme that major legislative and judicial events have become irrelevant. For example, a major civil rights case is being debated at the Supreme Court, but the major story on Daily Mail is about a rabbit.

The fact that scandal dominates the media is an indication of the dramatic nature of the American people. I’m no social scientist, but I think everyone can admit that our heart starts to race just a little bit when we here about the latest breakup or school suspension. It’s only natural. We crave drama and emotion; we are drawn to it like flies to honey. Once again, I want to stress that the sexual harassment issues plaguing Hollywood and the political realm are extremely important. But the fact that the media chooses to focus on those issues shows that as a whole, the American people prefer hearing about personal dramas and traumas rather than global issues resulting in death.

Perhaps we’ve become desensitized. Maybe all of the shootings and terror attacks and plagues have made us indifferent to these issues when they arrive. A war in Myanmar is no longer a global crisis. It’s a thirty-second mention on the nightly news before the premiere of the second season of our favorite TV show.

If we want to truly change the world, we have to expand our worldview. It sounds impossible, but it’s what we should strive for. We have to find a way to fit the harassment and the fires and the wars and the diseases in our mind. It’s either that or prioritizing one issue and completely forgetting another- allowing it to fester and gain strength until that issue must be prioritized over the one originally focused on. The only true solution is to do our best to take it all in, no matter how long it takes.

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With scandals plaguing the American system, global crises are being ignored