Don’t Let the Media Distract You

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The issues facing contemporary America are numerous and diverse, including two wars over seas, a national debt around 12.8 trillion dollars and climbing, and the worst economic recession since the Great Depression. Yet, what do the American people focus on? In the recent past our focus was on Briteny Spears and her drug problems; then the death of Anne Nicole Smith, which dominated American media coverage for weeks. Today it’s the NFL draft that is the center of attention. Tomorrow our focus might be on the latest episode of Lost, the NBA playoffs, or some other distraction. Still, No matter how entertaining as these events are, the degree of focus placed on them displays the American tendency to focus on the what the media most heavily covers. This tendency has resulted in society ignoring important issues that affect America, but don’t receive a great deal of news coverage. Consequently, America is now faced with the problem of having a society that is content do be distracted.

As a society, Americans have been become so distracted that more people have opinions on Tim Tebow’s Draft status than the Goldman-Sachs scandal. In our current time of recession, when so many are focusing on the state of the economy, one would expect that the charges brought against Goldman-sachs by the SEC would be a constant source of discussion and debate. Yet, because the media would rather focus on the NFL draft, it has remained in the periphery of people’s minds. If an economic scandal can be focused on so little during a time of  recession, one can only imagine how many significant events the American people have ignored because we were distracted; especially if it did not even receive the limited media coverage that Goldman-Sachs has. Clearly, The degree of coverage the media gives to a topic has become a way to either bring something to America’s attention, or ensure that we don’t focus on it.

A perfect example of how media focus can shift focus away from an issue is the American Graduation Initiative(AGI), which is discussed in Team Memphis’s post “Is Obamacare Really Most The Important?” . The AIG was designed to help individuals to attaining a college degrees; an important initiative in a nation like the United States where educations are noticeably lower than in other industrialized countries. However, the AGI failed to become law. A consequence of the media coverage on the healthcare bill, which was so intense in the days and weeks leading up to the vote that the AGI received very little media coverage. Eventually causing the bill to become another victim of Americans’ lack of awareness, and fail to be passed into law.

The media’s coverage of issues not only shifts the public’s focus away from important issues, but it also creates a lack of awareness in society that presents a serious problem. If the focus of American society continues to be so easily swayed away from important issues we will continue to be blindsided by problems. Society cannot prepare and plan against the occurrence of a serious problem if the chance that it might happen is not known. Furthermore, If we continue to allow ourselves to be distracted from what is important so easily we will lose our ability to ensure that society’s best interests are placed first. Meaning that, because society is distracted, a few individuals can make decisions to meet their needs, and not those of the American people. So consider this a wake up call, it is not okay to ignore important issues simply because there are more entertaining things on the television.

Take an active role in addressing the issues that will affect your life. Find those issues that will affect you, and those around you, in the future. Then make sure those issues are not ignored; Tell other people about them, voice your opinion on them, protest them, or support them with all you have. Do what ever you want with them, just as long as you make yourself aware of the issues that will affect you, and the rest of your fellow citizens. This nation was founded on the ideal of democracy, do not let the distraction of the media prevent you from ensuring the continuation of that ideal. It is time to make ourselves aware of those issues that affect us as American citizens, and to ensure that other Americans are aware as well. This is our country too; it does not only belong to the politicians and the economists. So don’t let yourself become so distracted that they are allowed to make all the decisions. Resist the foolish media hype designed to entertain and distract you. Make it clear that you know about the real issues, and you want the decisions made to be in your, and society’s, best interests. Help improve this great nation one decision at a time.

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