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The failing priorities of modern news media

Christian Harding
Assoc. Opinion Editor

Just in the past week, several crucial news stories all broke and therefore were cause for some serious media coverage, with things like the President giving his annual ‘State of the Union’ address, and other stories of significance. But did you hear about any of those things – or even care? Chances are, probably not. Although one news item that did appear to make national headlines and capture the attention of a significant portion of the population was the arrest and subsequent prosecution of Justin Bieber, for whatever-the-heck charges he was facing at the time.
Justin BieberTo say nothing of the fact that this little teeny bopper hipster just needs to be locked up before he gets himself – or worse yet, someone else – killed, the more pressing issue here would have to be regarding why nearly every major news outlet sees coverage of this subject as a major priority, whilst more devastating and relevant stories have gone resoundingly unseen or unheard of, all because we just *had* to know every last detail about the outcome of Bieber’s trial and sentencing.
This complete flubbing of news priorities was practiced even further during a CNN program from last week where one of their news anchors interrupted an interview with a senator for a “breaking news story” about Bieber’s arrest, treating it as if it were a natural disaster in the works or something of equal importance. This is exactly the kind of head-scratching and wrong-headed prioritizing is part of the reason few people take the news industry seriously anymore. How are the major media outlets supposed to show that they are truly necessary in today’s world when they keep shooting themselves in the foot with stuff like this?
bieber-mug-shot1Of course I’m not at all suggesting that the news circuits not report on something guaranteed to be as popular as Justin Bieber getting arrested. But instead, it’d be far more sensible to just give it the appropriate amount of time to get the information across and maybe crack a few jokes at his expense, but then move onto the next thing. Don’t dwell on it like TMZ and cynically celebrate the downfall of some irrelevant teen pop sensation (a downfall which everyone and their mother practically saw coming from miles away).
In all fairness, it’s not terribly difficult to understand why such seemingly important news stories haven’t gotten much traction. Most people tend to gravitate solely towards what they care about. But on the other hand, it’s the job of news media (read: NEWS media) to inform the general public on events and informational developments that they otherwise might not know of or care enough about to seek out themselves. Joining in with Joe Everyman and Mrs. Joe Everyman in ridiculing an already falling celebrity is not what most people would consider doing their job in the correct manner. Shouldn’t it be more of a priority for our modern news outlets to remain impartial and poise themselves above the mass crowds of gossip-hungry citizens, instead of becoming part of the crowd themselves?