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Russia election scandal becomes Russia gossip

by Nicholas Mazur - Campus Talk Editor
Tue, Nov 14th 2017 10:00 pm
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Though the scandal with Russia is certainly newsworthy, it seems that the media has their ears glued to Putin and Trump at the expense of other news.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons Though the scandal with Russia is certainly newsworthy, it seems that the media has their ears glued to Putin and Trump at the expense of other news.

 What is so interesting about the news is that it’s always changing, and it never gives you quite what you expect. When I sat down to write this article, I was confidently expecting to tell you all about the scary situation of Trump and Putin getting together in regards to the Asia-Pacific region. Specifically, Trump’s secretary of state trying to decide if he should classify North Korea a state sponsor of terror, according to CNN. However, like I said, the news never quite gives us what we expect.

     The article which gave me that information, from CNN, was from November 5. Trump’s visit to the Asia-Pacific area happened November 9, meaning I would have to stay tuned before finishing this article. What I found out was actually not as astonishing as I wish it was. The articles surrounding Trump’s visit had one thing in mind: Putin.

     The CNN article focused on Putin, Russia and the 2016 presidential election scandal, but I assumed that was simply because Trump had not yet gone on his tour of the Asia-pacific, and CNN, like any news organization, had a word count to fill. Yet even after the visit, USA Today also could not help but prioritize the Putin aspect of Trump’s visit, rather than the fact that Trump is interacting once again with the country that may or may not being trying to send nuclear missiles our way.

     Like I said before, I wish that was more shocking than it actually is. I wanted to comment on Trump and Kim Jong Un , the serious impacts of this impending cold war between our nation and North Korea, yet here I am stuck talking about the media again.

So what's the big deal? The media loves sensational things. It sells better, and the Russia election scandal is just that — scandalous. So when Putin and Trump get in the same room, why wouldn’t the news report on it?

     That’s not what I have a problem with. It’s the fact that this scandal overshadowed more important issues, issues less scandalous and more critical. I’m not unsympathetic to the fact that news needs to be sensational, that the population of news consumers grows more and more hungry for scandal every day. Why watch CNN when you can flip on E! News and hear about the latest gossip?

     It’s the same principle here. Why talk about boring politics when you can play up the scandal that, at the end of the day, will probably change very little? News needs to be uncompromising. News may serve the people at the end of the day, but it also serves the truth. Just because people don’t want to hear about the boring parts of the truth doesn’t mean you stop prioritizing it.

     In this political context, the takeaway from Trump’s visit to the Asia-Pacific region should not be, “ooooooo he talked to Putin! I wonder what they were whispering about!” But I cannot help but say that it’s probably exactly what Trump wants. It seems like half the reason he ran for president in the first place is so he could be the center of every other conversation. What better platform to achieve that on than president? And of course, gossip is much more fun than actual important, influential global politics. 

    Russia interfering with our election is by no means idle gossip on its own. When it begins to consume all media attention, when the primordial soup for a cold war is brewing between the United States and North Korea, it seems like we need to sort out our media coverage priorities. News is supposed to be, you know, new. If we just keep reporting on the same thing over and over again for the sake of maintaining a particularly juicy conversation, then we will undoubtedly lose track of where this country and the world is headed.

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