Give me real news or give me death

On Monday, a good friend of mine passed away. Real news had been one of my closest companions for many years. When I was bored in class, it entertained me. When I needed something to write about, it gave me a worthy topic. And when I wanted to know what was going on in the world that should matter to me as a human being, real news would inform me.

I mourn the loss but am angry at real news because, in a way, it killed itself. Real news did itself in by reporting the most fake, uninformative news of all — gossip.

Normally reserved for the smut-stained entertainment pages of lowly gossip blogs — blogs that are only OK to view after visiting a slew of actual news sources — a piece of celebrity “news” made its dirty little way to the main page of numerous once-reputable news websites.

It was there on FoxNews.com — which didn’t surprise me because Bill O’Reilly loves to talk about the entertainment industry, and I hardly consider Fox to be a distributor of unbiased news — but when I went to CNN.com in search of real news, there it was again. I had hoped that this betrayal was reserved to cable television news, so I went to my beloved NYTimes.com to avoid the trash. To my horror, the gossip was there, also.

Thinking that perhaps I could keep myself from being let down again by sticking to my local news, I sought out my favorite site, SLTrib.com.

As a little girl, I had looked up to The Salt Lake Tribune. The paper came to my door each morning, and as technology progressed, I enjoyed reading it online often. On Monday, The Tribune — like every other news outlet I could look up on Google — broke my heart. Not only was an unimportant story of a “pop tart who lost her li’l kids, ya’ll” on The Tribune‘s home page, it was featured with a picture among the day’s top stories.

In a way, I can’t blame the news for reporting something so ridiculous — society seems to be begging for it. Gossip magazines sell millions as the readership of newspapers decline. Who can fault them for taking a swim with the sharks?

The real question is where have we gone so wrong that, as a society, we are literally able to forget for a day that our nation is at war because the big news is that someone who can’t remember to wear underwear is temporarily losing custody of her kids? Other things in the world should matter more to people, but in a way, it seems as though we cling to entertainment that requires no mental capacity, because it allows us to evade our responsibility to care about what’s really going on in the world and actually do something about it.

Real news is hard to look at. It takes a strong stomach to digest things such as racism, child molestation, dead soldiers and the possibility of Hillary Clinton being our next president, but it is necessary. Every person in this country who has the ability to read has a duty to become informed on important topics through reliable news sources and use that information as a catalyst to being a more active member of our society.

As for the news outlets, I refuse to believe that all hope is lost. They just need to stop pandering to the shallow masses’ desire for sleazy entertainment and live up to their responsibility to participate in the education of society by giving the people a reliable outlet to obtain the news that actually matters.

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