Editorials and Opinions

Send the media to rehab

By Denebola
Published: October 2007
By Shakti NochurEvery time I go to check my e-mail, the first thing that catches my eye on the Yahoo! Homepage is the latest gossip about Britney Spears at the VMAs or Lindsay Lohan coming out of rehab for the 18 th time. Do I find it amusing? Yes. Is it kind of sad? Yeah.
But what’s even sadder is that more people know about Paris Hilton going to Rwanda than they do about what actually happened during the Rwandan genocide, or for that matter, the genocide in Darfur today. Pop culture has taken over the news to the extent that often, any random person on the street will know ten times more about the latest Hollywood divorce than they do about our government.
The problem is that celebrities and their idiotic choices intrigue people. It’s fun to read about how some famous person is making a fool of them self or getting married for the third time, rather than reading an article about taxes or politics. But it’s undeniable that the article about politics, though it may be (or definitely is) more boring, is far more important.
I’m not going to deny that it’s amusing to hear all about various celebrities’ DUIs and other mishaps. Many people find these complete strangers’ lives very entertaining. But that’s just it: pop culture is entertaining . That is the job of the entertainment industry, not CNN or any other news company. It’s time that media made the distinction between what belongs in People magazine and what belongs under the news headlines on MSN, Yahoo, and CNN.
I have nothing against these websites having specific entertainment sections, but there is no need for people to be bombarded with pictures of Paris Hilton holding her two-pound dog when they asked for American or world news. Why is it that the latest on entertainment is often on the top of a webpage and accompanied by a picture while news is far below in a much smaller box?
Most people, myself often included, don’t actually read the newspaper or watch the news everyday. So the least that the media could do is provide quick, informative, and accessible headlines of what’s happening around the world and within our country. The Internet could easily keep people relatively informed if it were not so busy “informing” us about gossip on Hollywood and the newest celebrities. This is not to say that all media companies are guilty and that all we get is enough pop culture to make us lose brain cells, but the vast majority of the media is far too focused on matters of little importance.
By focusing a bit more on what we need to know, we could avoid seeing mug shots of a different celebrity every day. And maybe we could even help all these troubled stars by giving them some privacy and making their lives appear a little less fascinating.

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