There is no doubt that Hurricane Katrina was a great tragedy. The loss of life, land, and spirit should not be taken lightly. However, Katrina and her aftermath were not the only important, life-changing events to happen in the last two weeks.
For the families of the thousand Iraqis who were trampled or drowned to death on a bridge as a result of a bomb scare, Katrina was not even on the radar. On the national front, Chief Justice William Rehnquist died, leaving Bush with two openings on the Supreme Court, including the illustrious Chief Justice position. It?s enough to make one wonder if people realize how much a few key rulings can affect their daily lives.
American TV news media has placed its focus solely on Katrina, failing to adequately report on the events that affect the lives of citizens everywhere. Even here in Pennsylvania, media outlets are not giving proper coverage to things that affect the state. Wouldn?t you be interested to know that the Pennsylvania legislature is planning to raise the minimum wage by two dollars?
The beauty of modern media is that we have the communication technology to gain knowledge instantaneously from all parts of the world. However, this distinct advantage sometimes leads to news? greatest failing. Modern news outlets are always willing to pool all their resources into whatever they judge to be the most sensational event at the moment, bombarding American sensibilities with thousands of images and dramatic headlines.
This is not to say that Katrina is purely sensational. It was a terrible national tragedy, and citizens need to be aware of what?s happening to their neighbors. A week and a half later, however, the coverage is bordering on horror stories that are exploitative of both the victims on whom they focus and the audience at which they are aimed. Meanwhile, the rest of the world?s events are being ignored. Katrina can be considered a priority, but being narrow-minded in such a time isn?t going to do Americans any favors.
Our offensives have continued in Iraq. In Israel, the Gaza Strip remains a hotly contested territory. As of the writing of this editorial, another storm, by the name of Ophelia, is poised to hit the Carolinas, and the fourth anniversary of September 11 has just passed us by. All the events have gone seemingly unacknowledged.
Our nation is lucky in that terrible disasters don?t befall us on a regular basis. When an event like Katrina does occur, we need to empathize with and support each other as much as we can. But we also need to keep things in perspective: In other countries, thousands more people die every week of starvation, disease, genocide, and warfare. Just because they don?t live here doesn?t mean their deaths aren?t as tragic, something our media has yet to learn. While the devastation that Katrina wreaked is still unfathomable even after the storm has been assessed, our awareness of other important events should not come to a standstill pending the rebirth of New Orleans.