Our Opinion: Keeping perspective

Monday, April 24, 2006

There always seems to be a scandal involving violence, sex or preferably both that grabs the public's attention. The current real soap opera playing out on the national stage involves allegations of a gang rape by ivy league athletes.

This lacks the celebrity element that the national media prefers for such an ongoing drama, which is why so much is made of the fact that the young men were ivy league athletes who played a game most young men in the country have never played. This provides a contrast with a poor minority person earning a meager living by taking off her clothes in front of groups of men.

Is this really news? There is a news element but mostly it is entertainment. People who want to find out what has more immediate impact on their lives prefer local print media over national broadcast news. (Imagine that, local print media extolling the virtues of local print media.)

Those who want to become well informed on national and international news would do better with weekly news magazines than other media sources, sacrificing immediacy for depth. You can still find details about nationally publicized sex scandals in these magazines but you will also find articles about matters of substance.

There are millions of people eager to hear the latest about the juicy topic of the day. There's nothing wrong with that but do not mistake this for something other than it is. It is more related to the desire to see the latest episode of survivor than it is to the desire to be an informed citizen.