McGarvey: Tragedy dictates news

Sean Mcgarvey

Don’t bother changing the channel, the same story is on all of the other ones.

The main focus of this article to bring the negativity about the national news to light. For many, this year has brought a lot of “bad” news to the television of many. In February, the Ebola outbreak had first begun to be brought up in the news. Over 10,000 people in Africa were infected with the virus. Around the same time this occurred, the Olympics had started in Sochi, Russia. Ukraine had become a place of unrest. A few weeks later, the mysterious disappearance of the Malaysian flight had captured the attention of millions worldwide.

As the year has gone on, the conflict in Ukraine continues to escalate. Recently, the United Nations began to sever ties with Russian leaders, voting to ban Russia from the G8. The next few months, more conflicts began to arise. The militant group know as the Islamic State group, ISIS, has begun their rampage through northern Iraq.

The arising conflicts did not stop in June. After the World Cup had come to an end, audiences continued to be bombarded by more bad news. Palestine and Israel had re-initiated ground combat, this time with Israel at the helm. During this time, it was almost as if Western Europe felt they had been forgotten. Another Malaysian flight had become national news; this time flight 77 had been shot down nearly 300 people were killed after the plane was hit by a missile from an undisclosed location.

It doesn’t stop here either. Every few years, people from all over the world come together and get the privilege to view the Olympics and the World Cup. This year it seemed as if both events were overshadowed by the controversy in Russia, and the rising threat of the Islamic State group in the Middle East.

The recent past hasn’t brought better news. In August, we saw the United States began to plan airstrikes in Iraq to aid the local military and attempt to stop the Islamic State group militants. September saw the first of many air raids led by the United States. Since September, the Islamic State group has continued its growing terror spree, killing thousands of innocent people. Ebola has continued to spread into 8 different countries –  United States and Spain being the only two outside of Africa. 

I understand that the news is here to inform us of when trouble arises. I’m also very happy to live in a country that allows the freedom of press and that has come to accept a wide variety of opinions on all sorts of topics. What I’m particularly unhappy about it the lack of focus our news sources have given the positive events in our world.

Take the Olympics for example, the Olympics are a widely popular event that unite countries from all over the world for only a couple weeks.

During this time, NBC affiliates dedicate themselves to bring American viewers non-stop coverage of the games. After the games are done, after the 22.1 million viewers had turned off their television sets, it’s almost like we forgot about the whole thing. Our attention went right back to hearing about the unrest somewhere, or the fighting that was happening in another place.

The blame can’t fall solely on news channels; part of the blame has to be given to the viewers.

Selective Exposure theory refers to individuals seeking out information that coincides with their existing views. If we believe the world is a generally evil place, all one has to do is turn on the television or get on the internet and their views would be reinforced. This may not be the reason people check the news, but it’s an underlying factor that could provide incentive for more to watch.

A few milestones in America got less media attention than others this summer and early fall.

There were twelve new states that have approved same-sex marriage: Oregon, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, Indiana, Nevada, West Virginia and North Carolina. This makes the marriage legal for same sex couples in 32 states.

Some may argue this as good news. I believe giving people their respected freedoms is important in our country; even if it doesn’t follow your beliefs. If you prefer to watch more people claim to have Ebola, or if you’d like to watch more incidents involving the Islamic State group and Ukraine, be my guest. But I would rather watch thousands of people celebrate a matter that was settled in court over having bloodshed and death be completely encompassing my television.