So, last week I went off on one about anarchy and ended up deciding to listen to the news more, and watch teevee in order to chart the feelings which came about owing to that.
Not two days after I said that, this story came on the Radio 1. In brief, Somalis from Minnesota are going back to Somalia. There is a worry that they have gone to fight, and that they will then return with their new miltary skills and start some terror going in America. The radio coverage included interviews with Minnesotans who seemed pretty afraid about all this. The radio coverage also left it to the last few seconds of the piece to inform listeners that 20 Somalians had left. The article mentions this at the start, and also that it has taken two years for these 20 to leave.
I don’t think this story made the news on any other day than Monday, I haven’t seen any more of it, but it still illustrates the fear which is inflitrating our consciousness daily. If it wasn’t twenty Somalians who are going to potentially come back and cause havoc, then it’s a deadly virus which will wipe out half the world’s population in forty two days, or the end of the world which is bound to occur in 2012 because the Mayans got lazy after charting, what, a couple of thousands years of star movements.
To disseminate the Somali story itself; are twenty people, who are more likely to die fighting then return, really worth a scare story (see use of ‘sad, scary story’, ‘menace of Somali vanishing youth’ (back in March) and the ‘terror recruitment’ of the BBC coverage)?
I can see how this is news, but the melodramatic, fear-inciting language and interviews used to cover this subject didn’t give the facts in an un-biased manner and also abstained from giving one of the most pertinent facts (that only twenty Somalians have left) until the end of the piece. Instead, Somalians are next on the list of ethnic groups we should be afraid of, due to this habit of popping back to fight in Somali they have recently acquired. More fear and more prejudice are not exactly what this world needs. The MinnPost covered this, also back in March, with a very thoughtful piece on how we don’t need further alienation of groups, which proves that some media outlets are thinking about the news rather than blindly reacting.
If you’re going to listen to the news, listen to and read all the news. Don’t rely on one source and look to people who actively disseminate media stories. Find out the facts before making a judgement on who to hate or fear next, and remember that a lot of media outlets have their own agenda and will not always present information in the most unbiased or skeptical manner. So, if you believe anything, find out why.