Media has responsibilities

In the world of 24-hour news networks, such as CNN, a typical day includes many stories that aren’t really relevant to people’s lives. Overweight people sue fast food restaurants, and a monstrous Cheeto is one of the top stories for a full week.

Now, something truly newsworthy has happened. The United States is at war, and the television networks have the technology to allow them to cover a war in real time, a feat never before accomplished. For 24 hours a day, there is nothing but war. For the first couple of days, it might have made sense to ignore everything else happening in the world, but it’s come to a point where we need to get back to some of the other stories integral to our lives.

North Korea is still a huge threat and is fiending for a war. Arabs all over the country have been arrested in connection to financing groups that support terrorism.

There are stories that need to be covered, and while the war is obviously the biggest story in the nation right now, it can’t take the place of everything else that’s happening around us. The media have a responsibility to give us as much news as possible, not just the most angles on one story.

And speaking of media responsibility, the time has come to put aside some of the traditional journalistic goals. In the war on Iraq, the military is letting reporters and cameramen ride with the troops, leading to some very interesting coverage, including live pictures of battle where anything can happen.

Along with the privilege of riding along comes a responsibility to keep our troops safe by not divulging dangerous information, such as location and war plans. Beating another medium to a story should be secondary to providing people with the news in a fair and timely manner.

This war is not going to end tomorrow, and the media, especially 24-hour news networks, need to remember that there are some things more important than a stale, green shot of nothing happening in Baghdad.

University Wire — Washington State University