Americans love a train wreck

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 14, 2007

Why does the news media focus on one story?

We constantly get images of Anna Nicole Smith, or currently Don Imus splattered all over the place for months on end until the newest story breaks.

And it’s never really the important stories that are focused on.

Yeah, let’s just forget about that little Iraq War we’re involved in. And, oh yeah, the Afghanistan War; what’s that?

Not to mention the corrupt happenings in our government.

Yes, Smith’s death should be reported as well as Imus’ moronic comments. But does the “Today Show” need to devote nearly an entire show to either topic?

And why is it important to know who the father of Smith’s baby is? Or what Larry Birkhead was wearing when he announced he was the father.

The American culture feeds on deviant behavior and ridicule.

Americans love a good old fashion train wreck, whether they come in the form of a curvy blonde or the guy who eerily looks like the Crypt Keeper from “Tales from the Crypt”—only with a cowboy hat on.

And we love kicking people when they’re down.

It’s exactly why Imus’ show was successful for all those years and why we laughed every time Smith slurred her words during an interview or appearance.

We’re kind of like the bully who pushes the runt down in the dirt and then laughs as his posse beats the runt to a pulp.

And we buy into these stories that we’re fed. We soak up every sensational story laced with facts good enough to be on a soap opera and we forget about the stories that are possibly more newsworthy and may affect the lives of the citizens of this country.

So, while all this “I-mess” stuff was going on, let’s see stories that may have been important but were passed over:

*A man from Ohio was arrested for allegedly joining al-Qaeda and conspiring to bomb targets in the United States and Europe. This proves my theory that we should be more afraid of our neighbors than anything.

*There was an insurgent attack in Baghdad’s “green zone.” Not so safe now Mr. John McCain.

*A woman accused of a “chainsaw murder” could become the first female in South Dakota to face the death penalty.

*The three former Duke Lacrosse players were cleared of rape charges. I don’t see anyone, beside the D.A., apologizing to them.

*And my favorite…the Tyrannosaurus Rex is a distant relative to the chicken, according to scientists.

All of this is going on plus famine, disease, violence and genocide.

Not that I’m saying stories about drug abuse, racism and sexism should not be talked about—they should and with open dialogue because that is the only way to solve our problems.

But should it take a radio show host’s insult or a model’s death to talk about it?


It’s not just their problems, it’s a problem in our society that as a society we need to change, not by gluing ourselves to the television to soak up what every public relations, activist or media executive has to say.

As much as we don’t want to admit it we love to see others down in the dumps and that’s why we’ll keep on watching the news segments about people who really shouldn’t be as important as some of the other topics in this world. And as long as we consume it, they’ll keep on reporting it.