Z Blog: 1 little girl, thousands of civilians | VailDaily.com

Z Blog: 1 little girl, thousands of civilians

Matt Zalaznick
Paul Sakuma/AP PhotoA journalist walks by a line of television vehicles in front of a courthouse in Boulder in anticipation of a court hearing by John Mark Karr.

Above the fold, on the front page of Monday’s Denver Post, was yet another blaring headline about the man who has confessed to killing JonBenet Ramsey 10 years ago.

There was a large photo with a hyperventilating story, and bullet points promising extensive coverage ” including details about the suspect’s desire for a sex change ” on the inside.

Below the fold, with a much smaller headline and photo, was a story about 20 pilgrims being killed by snipers in Iraq.

And John Mark Karr’s creepily gleeful face was so extensively smeared across every network and cable news show, one might forget our country is fighting two, three and maybe four wars.

After the news anchors finished salivating about this tawdry story of pedophilia, they mentioned, in an aside, that two or three more American troops died in a roadside bombing along with another batch of Iraqi policemen.

Sure JonBenet is local news for the Post, and sure the decades-old murder of a little girl is revolting and horrible, and the arrest of a suspect is certainly news. But little girls ” along with old men, middle-aged women, teenagers, American troops, Israeli civilians and all sorts of other human beings are dying in droves every day in Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Sudan and elsewhere.

What’s the matter with this country? What’s the matter with the people who decide what’s on the news and in the paper, and how much time and space each story receives.

As they did before the war in Iraq, major media outlets are again failing the American people. Are Americans really that engrossed in a salacious murder in Boulder, Colo.? I doubt it ” major news organizations are covering this story because it’s a journalistic piece of cake, and because the victim is a rich and pretty white child.

Why don’t major news organizations do an extensive profile of every soldier, sailor, marine and pilot who dies fighting overseas? Why do I know more about John Mark Karr than I do about any of the troops who are supposedly protecting our freedom?

Why do I know more about the strange things John Mark Karr wrote in yearbooks than I do about the various genocides and human catastrophes in Africa.

The stories that top the news are always a combination of what’s important and events that are going to outrage, excite or even sicken readers and viewers. JonBenet doesn’t have a lot of weight in the important category, which means this story is nothing more than a horror show ” part snuff film, part child pornography ” starring a strange southerner having a gender crisis.

Whether John Mark Karr killed JonBenet Ramsey isn’t going to make a bit of difference in the lives of any but a handful of Americans. But if our media organizations remain obsessed and distracted with smut, missing white girls and celebrities pregnancies ” especially during war time ” it’s truly bad news for us all.

Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado

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