Commentary: Not About Russia

Opinion of: JULIA WALKER

News that needs attention

The Russia investigation. Trump’s tweets of the day. When news in 2018 is mentioned, those two thoughts might come to mind. Day after day, news reporters on Fox News and CNN discuss similar topics: Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, and George Papadopoulos, or a tweet about “Making America  Great.”
Covering the Russia investigation and what the President says online is important, but there are copious amounts of stories that are undervalued and overlooked.
Thousands of students in Bangladesh are marching the streets for safer roads, and floods in India have killed more than 164 people. States like California and Michigan are banning plastic bags to save the environment, and India’s court decriminalized gay acts in the country.
So why are these stories being ignored?
The United States loves entertainment. America is thirsty for scandals occuring around the world, especially in the White House. But most importantly, we are scared.
We are scared of seeing and acknowledging other sides and other perspectives. We are scared to think about serious events happening in the world, especially if we are overwhelmed with feelings of “inability” to fix said problems. We are scared of what we don’t understand, so we stick to the same news out of fear of seeing something  different.
These fears have been engraved into American culture and they are fatal.
How long did the media cover family separation at the Mexico border? What ever happened to the cruscade for change in gun saftey? The news moves fast, but these issues don’t. Children are still sitting terrified in cages. The Parkland students spent their summer doing a 60-day tour around the country to advocate against gun violence in schools, and marched for 50 miles to protest the NRA. When the media discontinues to update America about lasting issues, people forget and move on, while there are still people suffering. America needs to lengthen its attention span.
According to research from UCLA and; an average American has up to 70,000 thoughts a day, and 80 percent of those thoughts are negative; 90 percent of news articles have negative headlines. How does the prominent representation of disaster, chaos, and disruption affect us each day? Rotating throughout our weeks dominated by a negative mindset could be by virtue of negative news headlines.
I understand that Trump and Russia are important. But the job of the press, with the largest and most powerful platform in our country, is to give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. Is the news being productive? Are they helping as many people as they can? Are they using their power and platforms in a fair way to better the world? Next time you read an article or turn on the news after school, ask yourself if you are looking at news that says “yes” to all of those  questions.

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