Opinions

Terrorphilia

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I don't care that a drunk on some plane kicked down a cockpit door a week ago. Really. Giving "breaking news" coverage to every inconsequential airplane-related incident wastes not only my time, but that of everyone else who tuned in for real news that matters.

The time has come to move beyond our collective obsession with the police-action against terror. Not every malicious person is a terrorist, and the real terrorists could hit us again if they wanted to-harder and in ways we can't even imagine. But we have ignored these facts and the multitude of other reasons why people hate and hurt in favour of the endless stream of easy, trendy airplane-terrorist news.

Please, spare the unfettered flow of deranged patriotic ignorance of political ineptness and scandal and give me some insightful coverage about Israel or even Enron. The tale of omnipotent businessmen deliberately screwing with thousands of Americans' lives is a blatant act of terrorism. Is this not clear to anyone else?

Tens of thousands of unemployed and destitute retirees will have more of an impact on people in real life than the ever-continuing anti-terrorism drive.

In this terror-centric world, however, that story has been buried by a lack of "people-getting-screwed-by-Enron-executives experts"-they're all busy being "terrorism experts." It's neat how experts and media create mutual employment.

Experts say security is tight at airports, government buildings and large public gatherings, and yes, I learned that from the media. In fact, I couldn't help but learn that from the mass media which has, over the last six months, made it explicitly clear that security concerns have pervaded every mundane aspect of our lives. Therefore, that news is no longer news.

It must be hard to break away from the journalistic groupthink epitomized by multi-billion dollar global news networks all regurgitating the same press conferences and footage dozens of times daily. Either that, or the value of indoctrinating terror upon the populace has escaped me. In any case, diversity in reporting is the ultimate loss attributable to September 11.

But in this sea of homogeneity, there is no shortage of reporters-cum-wizards trying to imbue relevance by conjuring threads to that date. While most of them are incapable of linking events together using research, knowledge or analysis, those who try must be at least congratulated for their creative use of buzzwords. Terrorism, like witchcraft, has become the catch-all for adversity.

In this "climate of terror" the news media should re-examine its purpose. Rather than continuing the blitzkrieg for branded-media mindshare, it should return to informing citizens of happenings important to their lives and discontinue the cycle of media terror.

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