Volume 96, Issue 98
Thursday, April 3, 2003

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The bias, the lies and the stories we never hear

Raspberry Beret
Kelly Marcella
News Editor

I was sitting in our windowless cell of a newspaper office yesterday and came to the conclusion that tearing my hair out would be more appealing than attempting to think of an original column idea.

In the last few weeks, media coverage has been saturated with stories on the war in the Middle East, the return of kidnapped child Elizabeth Smart and the outbreak of SARS. While media outlets attempt to reinvent the wheel and present new angles on these stories, it becomes blatantly evident that 24-hour coverage is unnecessary.

New information is less common than news stations would like us to believe and important issues that are worthy of notice are placed in the category of "not important enough to replace the four-second repeating loop of a bomb hitting a target in Iraq."

While I'm in no way underestimating the importance of these issues, there is an entire world of stories that remain under the media's radar.

I admit, I was also swept away in the sensationalism of the recent media coverage, but I quickly reminded myself that the world does not revolve around what CNN decides is newsworthy.

Last week, I attended a panel discussion concerning the ongoing civil war in Sudan and attempts being made by Londoners to free Sudanese slaves. For 20 years, the Sudanese civil war has been raging, devastating the country and forcing thousands into refugee camps around the world.

Old news to some, but it has had an incredible effect on a large number of people. Mind you, there's no oil, so I guess it's not relevant news. Speaking of which, where are the people protesting for the freedom of the Sudanese slaves? I guess maybe that's because no one really knows anything about the situation.

War, genocide and injustices are occurring in dozens of places around the globe, but have not warranted any media coverage. Independent media sources offer information not otherwise available in the mainstream, but as with all media sources, offer similar, albeit opposing biases.

It's almost as though the media covers stories in a vacuum and cannot focus on issues other than those select few that reflect American capitalist interests or those that are rooted in blatant and uneducated anti-American sentiment.

No wonder I can't think of what to write about – my brain has been bombarded with sensationalism and biases galore, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate illusion from reality.

Sure, bias is inescapable and sensationalism sells papers and gets ratings, but I would really appreciate a concerted effort on behalf of all sides to try a little harder to remedy this increasingly problematic situation.

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2002 THE GAZETTE