Posted by: Opey | August 3, 2007

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

As many of my previous posts have indicated, I am not a big fan of the sensationalism used by most major media outlets in the aftermaths of tragedy. There are times where news sources will use crime and other events simply to instill fear into the hearts and minds of the American people in order to keep them coming back for more updates, tips and coverage. It really is rather sickening. Well, I was ready for much of the same in the aftermath of the collapse of the bridge in Minnesota. One of my roommates and I were watching ABC news last night as Charles Gibson was shown flying over the scene of the collapse in a helicopter for all of a minute or two. The show then proceeded to cycle through no less than 3 different on-scene reporters to deliver various stories about the incident. Of course at every turn there were subtle editorial “maneuvers” that allowed them to hype up the fear/drama of an already dramatic and horrendous story. They would mention children at every turn and made sure to find a survivor of the collapse who was on her way home to her baby. This particular round of fear mongering acted to overshadow some good reporting on the part of ABC. There was a greater message that was presented in one of the reports, but it was loss in the “fluff,” if you will. In a story about the nation’s bridges and their state of disrepair, mention was made of recent reports on various segments of America’s vital infrastructure. In a report from the American Society of Civil Engineers, the group gave poor grades across the board to each and every segment of the American infrastructure.  On top of that, all segments of the infrastructure (aviation, energy, roads, water, waste, transit to name a few) managed to decrease in grade from 2001 to 2005.  The overall “Infrastructure GPA” was a D.  That would not stand at many institutions of education in America (education earned a D in this report by the way).  Now this may sound like fear mongering on my part, but I believe that it is not, or if it is, it is warranted.  Many people will never encounter the types of things that the media reports about and sensationalizes.  But who can say they will never drive on a road or drink public water or use electricity of the national grid?  There are major problems with the very things that allow this nation to function at its very base level.  Unfortunately it takes a tragedy such as this to bring them to the forefront and, even then, they are often overshadowed under an umbrella of media sensationalism.

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