Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Casey Anthony Shell Game

I have a confession to make: I didn’t follow the Casey Anthony murder trial.

Why? Two reasons. One: I didn’t need to know the gory details of a small child’s death to appreciate the horror of the situation. Two: I believe that news stations should be concentrating on seminal events that are currently omitted or under-covered. In short, the news media should not make a circus out of a tragedy because they are too stupid, lazy or corrupt to cover news that may impact life as we know it.

Emote; don't think. Courtesy:
One of my friends told me that because I did not follow—and emote over—every grizzly aspect of this event that I have no heart. To the contrary. I think people who feast on the details of other people’s misfortunes for their own sadistic entertainment or to bond with others are the ones lacking humanity.

What would I have preferred to see in the news? Well, according to Project Censored, these 10 news stories were either ignored or hardly mentioned in the past few years. (If you want to read about any of these topics, click here.)
  1. Global Plans to Replace the Dollar (importance: the dollar will dramatically plummet in value; the cost of imports, including oil, will skyrocket; and interest rates will climb)
  2. US Department of Defense is the Worst Polluter on the Planet (offenses include: extensive release of radioactive and chemical contaminants into the air, water, and soil)
  3. Internet Privacy and Personal Access at Risk (not just our government anymore: private companies and even some schools are engaging in reading your personal emails and text messages)
  4. ICE Operates Secret Detention and Courts (“If you don’t have enough evidence to charge someone criminally but you think he’s illegal, we can make him disappear.” James Pendergraph, executive director, Immigration and Customs Enforcement)
  5. Blackwater (Xe): The Secret US War in Pakistan (you may have mixed feelings on this one, but it is worth reporting)
  6. Health Care Restrictions Cost Thousands of Lives in US (A recent Harvard research team estimates that 2,266 US military veterans died in 2008 due to lack of health insurance)
  7. External Capitalist Forces Wreak Havoc in Africa (Land-grabbing for oil: thousands of Kenyan and Nigerian civilians have been killed in oil-rich regions as the military burns whole communities to the ground and police commit extrajudicial killings, rapes, beatings, thefts, arson, and intimidation)
  8. Massacre in Peruvian Amazon over US Free Trade Agreement (On World Environment Day, June 5, 2009, Peruvian Amazon Indians were massacred by the government of Alán García in the latest chapter of a long war to take over common lands—a war unleashed by the signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Peru and the United States)
  9. Human Rights Abuses Continue in Palestine (The face of 21st Century apartheid)
  10. US Funds and Supports the Taliban (Go figure: American tax dollars are paying Taliban insurgents protection money so they will not hurt our soldiers who are fighting them)
 If you’ve read my blogs, you know that I have my own pet peeves of ignored stories as well.  
  1. Dangers of genetically altered foods and the FDA's refusal to label them
  2. Need to warn parents and pregnant women about the health risks of cell phone radiation to growing children and fetuses
  3. Radiation contamination raining down on our country from Japan, how it has contaminated our water and food supplies, and steps to protect our health from it
  4. How the rich and powerful are slowly siphoning off our country's wealth at the cost of the average working person
Yes, these are scary and complex subjects, but a responsible news media would be all over them with the same doggedness they show for sensational trials and missing blonds in the Caribbean. And by the way: When was the last time you saw months and months of coverage for a poor, black child gunned down in a ghetto neighborhood? It happens every day.

Brittany Johnson: killed in a drive-by shooting. Ever hear of her?
I have lived long enough to see personal tragedies played out hundreds of times: parents turning against nature and harming their children, senseless drive-by shootings, sickening drunken-driving carnage. These should all be reported and acknowledged—briefly, with dignity and respect. But in-depth news coverage should focus on the events that threaten our food supply, health and financial stability.

That is the problem I have with the national obsession over Casey Anthony. It comes at the expense of ignoring the important issues that will affect the lives of ourselves, our children and our grandchildren. Make no mistake. The news media know how easy it is to manipulate your attention away from these issues by waving the shiny object of a lurid murder trial. Will you allow yourself to be manipulated? Or will you demand that the real news, quietly being ignored for the benefit of corporate and private financial interests, be reported? That, my friends, is entirely up to you.

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