On the way to breakfast at our lovely dining hall every morning, I pass at least three televisions playing the West Chester University news and CNN in the bottom right-hand corner. I cannot help but glance at the corner when I’m waiting for the elevator or for my coffee at Einstein’s, just to see what they’re talking about. Today it is something about President Donald Trump. I pass another television in Merion on my way to class. Something about Trump. At dinner, there’s something about Trump. Trending on Youtube: there’s something about Trump. NBC and Fox: there’s something about Trump, except maybe more critical or supportive, depending on the obvious.
It seems like most news sources will latch onto a topic and beat it to death for a few weeks before moving on to the next hot item, in a cyclical process of shoving the same information at you and then abandoning the story entirely. A few months ago, it was Standing Rock, and then of course the election, but now it seems that no matter what, I find myself watching TNN, Trump News Network (as if he needs his name on any more organizations).
I’m sure many people feel very passionately about the new president in many different ways, but isn’t the role of the news to educate us about more than one issue at a time? Perhaps even issues that aren’t limited to national politics?
Knowing about how the election worked out, the first actions of the new president, the protests, etc. are all important things to know. However, sometimes I wonder about what’s going on elsewhere, and I have to actually dig to find anything besides the current hot topic. For example, there hasn’t been too much clamor over Standing Rock in a while. After the topic fell out of the mainstream, police arrested more protesters and journalists, using tear gas and rubber bullets once again, but since the videos were released on Jan. 18, they were overshadowed by the coming inauguration.
This is just one issue amongst thousands across the globe that many people should be concerned about, but the news won’t touch. There are news sources that aren’t as widely accessed as CNN and Fox, but they do exist, and some of them are just as valid as the mainstream. Just a quick scroll through RT, formerly known as Russia Today, news of videos from the last month made me aware of the following: Aleppo is free from ISIS. You’d think this would be huge news, but again, all we see is Trump.
There is no mainstream coverage of humanitarian aid being insignificant as millions starve. To top it off, bomb sweepers are finding mines and mine casings manufactured in the U.S. and Germany. Yemen is also having a humanitarian crisis, with somewhere between 1.5 and 2 million people starving due to the rebellion against the Saudi-supported government. The Mosul Dam in Iraq is at risk of destruction due to ISIS conflict, which could result in the deaths of 1.5 million Mosul residents and an entire city underwater.
The first female boxing club in Pakistan opened and is providing an avenue for women’s liberation. President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is considering martial law, partially to make good on his promise to be a modern Hitler to drug users. The UK cannot begin exiting the EU without Parliamentary approval, which could delay or potentially overturn the referendum. The UK government also covered up failed nuclear arms tests.
A wildfire in Argentina has burned more than one million hectares of land. Russia is enhancing anti-missile defenses in Crimea. Still no evidence has been released that the Russian government hacked U.S. election systems. The U.S. is sending 4,000 troops to Russia’s western border, along with other European troops. Heavy fog from pollution in Chinese cities disrupted travel and even required people to wear masks while outside.
Of course, RT is a Russian-based news source and potential biases should be noted. But they regularly air a variety of content on issues from all across the globe, in addition to their coverage of more mainstream issues, including Trump’s executive actions. Although many aren’t explicitly United States-based events, they are still events which can affect us or may be important to those who are interested in a wide variety of global issues. This news source makes for a much better awareness of the world and can help maintain progress for global improvement for those who are endangered by conflicts ignored by mainstream media.
Not only should we expand our view outward, but also turn it inward. We should be aware of what’s going on in our own states and towns because that will affect us as much as what is happening in Washington D.C. For example, the Pennsylvania Department of Education will be issuing grants for local food in schools. Pennsylvania state senators are considering legalizing sports gambling, an elementary school near Pittsburgh was shut down for lead in its water (this isn’t Flint), and the state will be closing two of its 26 prisons.
I may be biased due to my ideological opposition to the federal government, but I find local and global news to be much more interesting than federal politics, even though they are severely underrepresented in our mainstream media, and thus our common discussion. You can look at a source that may be politically opposed to Russia, but finding a news source that covers something different at all, along with local news sources, can make you aware of incredibly important events and open opportunities to make meaningful local change.
Alexander Habbart is a second-year student majoring in economics, math and finance. He can be reached at AH855541@wcupa.edu.