Media is crying wolf - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Media is crying wolf

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Monday, February 17, 2003 11:01 pm

America has just been through a week of paranoia unparalleled in recent memory.

It actually began on Feb. 7, when the federal government raised its terror alert level to condition orange, signifying a “high” risk of attack. We had experienced that once before, late last summer around the first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but it was worse this time.

It was exacerbated by the release of tapes purportedly from Osama bin Laden. And by federal officials who seemed to be saying we all should rush out, buy duct tape and seal ourselves into our homes. And by 24-hour all-news networks that kept an orange logo in the lower right corner of the screen.

By the end of the week federal disaster officials were downplaying the duct-tape talk and on Sunday Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said the terror alert may be downgraded soon. That would be a relief. But it’s only fair to ask how many times we can put ourselves through this. It is getting really, really exhausting.

The media can’t be blamed for reporting the news. These really are serious times. Terrorists really are out there and there is a big war in the offing. But maybe we ought to turn down the volume a bit.

For one thing, what about those terror alert logos on the TV screen? What good do they serve other than to make nervous Nellies even more nervous? And what about the constant parade of kickers that say “NEWS ALERT” and “BREAKING NEWS”? Often these show up on stories that are hours old or no more significant than the one Texas soap opera about the Mercedes-driving, husband- smashing dentist. A sense of proportion is needed here.

Asking the stations to cool it is probably futile, however, given the need to fill 24 hours a day with gripping material. So in the end our mood depends largely on us.

What’s really going on around us? Does safety lie in duct tape? Do our personal lives unfold any differently under condition orange than they would under condition green? Does it make sense to be hyperventilating allevery hour of the day, especially with a gas mask on?

Those are reasonable questions for unreasonable times. Be alert, sure. Stash some extra food and water, maybe some cash. It’s good to have those around anyway.

But let’s let up a bit on the national panic button.

  • Discuss

CDC Update: 4 Deaths, 732 Salmonella Cases in 35 States Linked to Cucumbers

Oct. 6 update: CDC announced on Tuesday that 61 more Salmonella Poona infections have been reported from 24 states, bringing the total to 732 …

Published: October 7, 2015 - 11:53 am @…

No title

Published: October 7, 2015 - 11:52 am @ http://

Why Nature Makes Us Feel Better

Today we are so happy to share the work from Robyn Purchia of our sister site EdenKeeper. EdenKeeper is a brilliant site that embraces the con…

Published: October 7, 2015 - 11:51 am @…

Mouse Study Could Lead To A Pill That Squashes Cravings For Alcohol

Can a link to binge drinking and alcoholism lead to medication that could stop the urge to drink? A new discovery about the link between binge…

Published: October 7, 2015 - 11:23 am @…

Best Brunch Alert: Luci's Healthy Marketplace

Luci’s Healthy Marketplace is so much more than just that. Somewhere beyond the words healthy and marketplace, finds a welcoming, warm and nei…

Published: October 7, 2015 - 11:22 am @…

Facebook on Facebook

Twitter on Twitter

Google+ on Google+


Subscribe to via RSS

RSS Feeds

Your Az Jobs