Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

April 24, 2013

ROOT:

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — If you need to see proof of how CNN and the other 24-hour news outlets work, you only need to look as far as CNN’s website. About 24 hours after the Boston Marathon bombings, a fertilizer plant in Texas exploded. With all of the fervor from the bombings, the news networks asked the logical question as to whether or not the two events were related. Initially, it seemed like a good question to ask.

Both events happened close to the anniversary of the Waco debacle and the fertilizer plant explosion even happened close to Waco. It seemed like two stories gift-wrapped for the news channels that use fear to keep the masses tuned in. But then things started to shift and we got to see the real colors of the news networks.

I am looking at the CNN website right now. It is 10:00 pm EST on Monday night. The Texas explosion is not even on the front page. What is the entire front page dedicated to? The Boston Marathon bombings. Why is that? Because the Marathon Bombings were declared an official terrorist act, while the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas was just an accident.

But let’s put that in perspective. What happened in Boston was a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. Four people are dead and hundreds are injured. The remaining suspect is being processed and he will probably face justice similar to what the Oklahoma City bomber faced. We know that the suspect who was shot to death was a boxer and that his wife is “very distraught” over the recent events. That was a quote from an actual CNN headline.

We are learning all kinds of things about the suspect who is alive. Anyone who reads my columns knows I do not use the names of murderers if I can avoid it. But CNN and the other 24-hour news networks are using his name constantly. They are glorifying his act by plastering his image all over television and the Internet. We know every little detail about his life and the life of his dead brother.

It is hard to find updated information on the Texas explosion, but last I heard there were 14 people dead, over 160 injured and over 50 homes completely obliterated. Do we know any of the names of the victims? What about some of the acts of heroism that saved some lives in Texas that night? Is there a list of the accomplishments of the dearly departed that we can refer to so that we can see how unfortunate victims lived their lives? No, there isn’t.

I stopped watching the 24-hour news coverage of the Boston bombings after they caught the second suspect alive. But the news networks could not stop there. Were there more bombs? Are these two suspects part of a terrorist cell that is plotting to destroy more American cities? Should we all be terrified? Should we all lock ourselves up in our homes until Wolf Blitzer tells us it is okay to come out?

I like reading the newspaper because it gives me real facts about a lot of things. Our newspaper is nice because it looks like it really tries to balance the chaos of the world with some of the positive things going on in our area. Local newspapers must survive if our country is going to avoid the cesspool that is the national media.

The reason you don’t hear about the Texas explosions is because the news networks cannot terrify you with it. If you don’t live near a fertilizer plant, then the guys at Fox cannot postulate how many more people will die from fertilizer explosions this year.

The Boston bombing is all about fear. Lock your doors! Don’t answer your phone! Don’t leave your house until we tell you it is safe! There are terrorists everywhere! If there aren’t terrorists everywhere, then we will make you believe that there could be terrorists everywhere! We will protect you from the real-life boogeyman! Just stay tuned and we will show you how you and your family can survive the night!

Do yourself a favor folks. Stick with reading your local newspaper. Turn off the national news. The only time the national media pays any attention to us is when we get a snowstorm. Holy smokes! Snow in Western New York? Send out a news crew immediately!

The 24-hour news networks survive by showing you the worst that there is to see. Things are bad these days, but they aren’t that bad. Besides, there is a pancake breakfast in Gasport next weekend. Something tells me that Wolf Blitzer won’t be there to cover it, and that is just fine by me.

George N Root III writes for his hometown newspaper and he is damn proud of it. His column appears every Wednesday and he has never been quoted by Wolf Blitzer. He can be reached at georgeroot@verizon.net if CNN ever needs his help in creating good stories that interest people without scaring them to death.

George N Root III writes for his hometown newspaper and he is damn proud of it. His column appears every Wednesday and he has never been quoted by Wolf Blitzer. He can be reached at georgeroot@verizon.net if CNN ever needs his help in creating good stories that interest people without scaring them to death.