Media failed to properly cover North Korean threats

North Korea formally threatened the United States with nuclear missile strikes on April 3 and moved a missile to the country’s eastern coast. Because the missile is only capable of travelling 2,500 miles, according to CNN, a nuclear attack would not be able to reach America’s western states, including Alaska and Hawaii, and therefore would not be able to harm citizens. However, an attack could reach U.S. naval and air bases in Japan and Guam.

North Korea asserted that it would directly target these U.S. bases, as well as the nation itself in the future. In response, the U.S. announced the dispatch of ballistic missile defenses to Guam.

Despite the increasing threat from North Korea, many U.S. news outlets have failed to adequately report these developments. Instead of making coverage of the situation prominent, media outlets chose to cover other less important material.

North Korea’s declaration of approved missile strikes barely made its way to the front page of The New York Times on April 4, the day after the declaration was made. A four-line preview of an article titled “A Reaction to North Korea” was the only indicator on the page that North Korea’s threat was even made.

Stories that took precedence over coverage of North Korea in the April 4 issue of The New York Times include "As Web Search Goes Mobile, Apps Chip at Google's Lead," an article about how Google is losing its Internet traffic to mobile applications.

The front page of the Los Angeles Times also lacked coverage of North Korea’s threats on April 4. The newspaper chose to entice readers with stories about The Tonight Show and a couple’s fight to prove their marriage instead. The case was no different for the Chicago Tribune.

Because people’s opinions and interests are often swayed by the media, news outlets must more accurately portray North Korea’s threats, as well as the U.S.’s responses, to their readers. While the threats are not immediately dangerous, citizens must be properly educated about this issue, which has the potential to evolve into a larger conflict. The media’s job is to provide its audience with the information that most directly affects them; a threat of war to the nation affects millions and is no joke, especially when the threat involves nuclear weapons.

If the United States government is taking the threat seriously, so should the media.