Thursday, June 12, 2008

The News is Not Helping

I admittedly do not watch the news very often. I do not have very much interest in the news, as I'd rather watch a movie if I want drama. As often as I watch the local news, I see at least one report on an act of violence, often homicide, in an urban area. Many times the news will report multiple acts of violence in one hour: shootings, stabbings, rape, assault, vehicular assault, domestic abuse, child abuse, arson, gang-related violence, drug-related violence, the list continues.
Are the media lying about these occurrences? I don't believe so. Are these things NOT happening in the suburbs and rural communities? I would say they definitely do. But the media is a business. The media needs to attract viewers in order to satisfy advertisers, like any television station. Consequently, news programs are littered with these stories of violence and moral degradation in urban areas.
What effect does the news programs' reporting have on the community? This is what I would like to know. I remember learning that children who are frequently picked on begin to believe that what their bullies are saying is true. They begin to believe that they are not worth much, that they are losers, and that they are not capable of achieving success. This is the effect that I suspect the local news reports can have on the urban communities they portray to be so morally bankrupt. The members of the communities see that the news is effectively telling the "local world" that they live in a bad place full of bad things and violent people, and it must have some negative effect on them. The effect can snowball, so to speak as well. The members begin to think poorly of their community, and the attitude begins to spread to others who are influenced.
In this situation, how could education not be affected? Many students are going to school with the attitude that they come from an undesirable place, and that they can't do anything to better themselves. They have no hope, and do not see education as the key that unlocks the door to success, and rising above the unfortunate situation that many of them have been born into, to no fault of their own. Like I said, I don't watch the news very often.


Anonymous said...

are you saying that the news consciously only reports crime in urban areas but not in suburban and rural?

Ryan McGuirk said...

"Are the media lying about these occurrences? I don't believe so. Are these things NOT happening in the suburbs and rural communities? I would say they definitely do."

If I'm reading your post right, it seems that you suspect some bias against urban communities in the media because they report with greater frequency events of violence, etc in these areas as opposed to in suburban/rural areas. While I agree with you that more negative urban stories are reported than negative suburban/rural stories, I'm not sure that this is necessarily indicative of a bias. As you point out, media is a business, and, as such, it makes sense that they discuss the salient news stories of their largest constituencies: urban areas. Every major news outlet that I'm aware of has its offices in an urban area, so in that way, it just seems natural that urban stories would dominate their coverage.