Sunday, July 14, 2013

The George Zimmerman media circus

Unless a person has been living under a rock, most of us already know the George Zimmerman murder trial has been the latest “trial of the year” as anointed by the national media.
Of course, the Zimmerman trial dealt with whether he was justified in using force that resulted in the death of Trayvon Martin. Regardless of how a person feels about the trial, the bottom line is one person is dead and the other person’s life will never be the same. The circumstances regarding how this came to be should be sobering for us all. It shows how lives can change in an instant based on the decisions we make.
The following comments are not meant to trivialize the circumstances of that case because it is all serious business. However, this trial is another example of how the national media can become fixated on one subject to the point that it ignores other important topics, including ones that are more important to us as a nation.
We see this happen time after time.  Just a few weeks ago, it was the Jodi Arias trial that the media crammed down our throats. With its tales of explicit sex, it was a classic example of a subject chosen for national coverage for its ability to titillate. In the Zimmerman trial, it has been race that has been used as the drawing card. Zimmerman is of white and Hispanic heritage while Martin was African-American.
It is a crying shame that people continue to exploit issues as basic as race, but we have seen this happen in this case. Though race relations have improved dramatically in our country over the last 50 years, it is still not where it could be. Problems remain, and they are challenging. These problems remain all the more challenging when we have large corporate entities like the media trying to pull the scab off wounds.
The bottom line is the overexposure of the Zimmerman trial is another chilling example of the national media at its laziest. It greatly reduces the cost of doing business for the media if all it has to do is rehash the events of the case until it is ground into a fine powder. Seriously, do we really need “experts” telling us the same thing over and over again when we have the information right before us?
Because of this commitment to repetition, we see other stories that are more important to us as a nation go underreported. For example, the extraordinary events going on Egypt right now have the capacity to impact us more as individuals than a second-degree murder trial in Florida.
Egypt is our most important Arab ally in the Middle East, and it is not every day that we witness a military coup of a country that important to us. Our leaders in Washington will not necessarily call it a coup because that could interfere with the more than $1 billion the United States provides the country each year. Since most of that money goes to fund the Egyptian military, we are not overly upset the coup happened even though the overthrown president was elected by popular vote.
There were other stories that have been underreported as well, including the deaths of 19 firefighters in Arizona. I could go on and on and on.
The result of this approach by the media winds up hurting us all in the long run. However, I cannot entirely blame them. The media is big business so if money can be earned this way, why is this a bad thing?
The media gives us what we want. It’s too bad we can’t get what we need.

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