Don’t give up on the media yet

It’s easy to criticize the media, but you need us–not just to give you your morning war report as you feast on toasted bagels and gourmet Starbucks coffee. As hard as it is to believe in this day of 15-minute world news and cozy CNN press conferences, some of us are here to help ensure a free society and maybe even bring a little justice to our world. Unfortunately, the media has been doing a piss-poor job of this lately, and quite frankly, it makes me sick.

Case in point: the gruesome death of 23-year-old college student Rachel Corrie. A bright-eyed Washington native, she traveled to Palestine to passively resist what she saw as state tyranny against a helpless people. Right or wrong, she was unarmed. Right or wrong, she didn’t deserve to die.

On March 16, she was crushed beneath the tracks of an Israeli bulldozer, while trying to halt the destruction of a refugee camp. It rolled forward over her, then backed over her, without ever lifting its blade.

Did this act of violence make the front page up here? No. How about the lead story on the 24-hour news station? Not a chance. Why? Possibly because the War in Iraq or the War on Terror makes a better headline. Perhaps even because Israel is supposed to be our ally, and we’d rather eat the lies than say anything bad about them.

In any case, this ultimate theft of an individual’s human rights–this murder of an unarmed woman by a supposedly civilized nation–barely warranted a single headline. For that, today I’m ashamed to even play journalist in a student newspaper.

However, don’t let the current failings of the mass media colour your view of the place of a free and autonomous press in our society. We can safeguard the rights you were promised, at least when we do our job. Let writings like this prove to you that the independant media still has its place and purpose, and maybe someday, we can again earn your respect.

Next time you turn on the television or pick up a newspaper, please keep in mind there is much difference between the world of “embedded journalists” and 15-second news bites, and the ideals of the true, independent journalist.

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