Open any newspaper in the country these days and you are guaranteed to read about war.
For obvious reasons, Afghanistan and Iraq have been centerpieces of media coverage for the past few months.
Names like Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein have again taken their place in America’s dinnertime vernacular.
In light of this, one must consider whether or not a quick glance through newspapers or cable news channels is enough to give one an accurate idea of what is truly going on around the world.
According to the Center for Defense Information, there were 21 significant armed conflicts in 2002.
In addition, the Women’s Human Rights Web site states that there are currently 30 wars and internal conflicts taking place around the world.
“I am aware of some other conflicts, but I only know details about the two wars we are involved in. I am surprised to hear that that many wars can be happening at one time,” Temple University junior and kinesiology major Amanda Gerwer said.
Many students said they are aware that of problem areas in the Middle East, North and South Korea, and of course, Afghanistan.
Some vaguely recall hearing about genocides in Africa, yet a majority of students interviewed couldn’t pinpoint any other conflicts.
“I just think that that’s how our media works for the most part, if the United States isn’t involved in any way, it’s almost like it’s not [news] worthy,” said
Temple junior advertising major Ashley Nichols.
On the other hand, Temple senior and journalism major Thomas Walter recognizes the American media’s first and foremost duty is to inform the public of what directly affects them.
“We as a country have our own problems with terrorism and problems affecting this country. While these other wars are important, they don’t directly affect us,” said Walter.
“If people want to look into that, that’s their own right. I think it’s the government’s job to look out for us first, and we have problems right now. If we didn’t have those problems then we might know more about these other wars.”
Nichols agreed and added: “That’s what the media should be there for, to inform, but we are definitely shielded by the media because of the situation right now.”
Temple junior Lauren DePino said she doesn’t want to hear about every problem happening around the world.
“What could I, as one person, do about it? I’m going about my own way to improve the world through my own root which is volunteering through literacy and the church,” Depino said.
The media is the major outlet through which people gain information.
Naturally, the media puts a greater emphasis on the news that hits closest to home, such as the war in Iraq.
However, the lack of worldwide coverage leaves many citizens seemingly clueless of current events and further emphasizes an egocentric nation.
“The ego of America continues to astound me,” said Temple junior and computer and information sciences major Thomas Fleischer.
“For example, today in news: oil prices are up. Oh, and there’s genocide in Africa too.”
Pooja Shah can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org