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American media in a tailspin after weekend of tragedy

A candle in honor of all those who have suffered or lost their lives in recent and past events. (photo/ candles.lovetoknow.com)

A candle in honor of all those who have suffered or lost their lives in recent and past events. (photo/ candles.lovetoknow.com)

This past Friday the 13th was the world’s cruel reminder of the existence of evil. In Paris, a total of 6 locations were part of a coordinated attack. ISIS, the group self-proclaimed as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, admitted to organizing the attacks.

The confirmed locations include: Stade de France stadium (with three separate explosions detonated at 9:20, 9:30, and 9:53 p.m.), Le Petit Cambodge (a restaurant), Rue de la Fontaine au Roi (a bar), La Belle Équipe (a restaurant), Boulevard Voltaire (a restaurant), and the Bataclan (a concert venue).

These attacks were responsible for the tragic deaths of at least 128 people. An estimated number of 352 were wounded.

Following the attacks, the whole world seemed to pour out support for France. Facebook created a profile picture filter of the nation’s flag. Amazon’s front page donned the flag and the words ‘la solidarité’ (solidarity). Politicians and celebrities aplenty shared their support via the Internet. Businesses even took the opportunity to show their support- ‘Pray for Paris’ got its own Snapchat story.

Whereas it is comforting to see the inhabitants of the world come together in a time of such need, another huge problem is now being addressed- this event is a prime example of the idea that the media exists to tell the people what to care about. 

On November 12th, Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, sustained two suicide bombings in a shopping center during rush hour. Around 43 were killed and over 200 were injured. ISIS have also taken responsibility for this horror.

After the Internet became dominated with stories about the developments in Paris, then came the viral story of a massacre that killed 147 at Garrissa University in Kenya- in April. That’s seven months ago, and people are just now hearing of it.

Again, no one hardly knew of the situation until it started being shared again in the midst of terror unfolding in France. BBC News reported that 7 million people clicked the story, and through being spread on social media, it appeared as one of BBCs’ Top 10 current stories- with a date stamp that has obviously been overlooked.

If anything’s apparent from the striking difference between the coverage and attention given to France as opposed to Lebanon, Kenya- and Baghdad, where a bomb attack resulted in at least 26 slain and 'dozens' injured- it is the blinding fact that the news outlets of the United States favor the Western World. Countless breaking news banners and hashtags delve deeply into stories across the United States and Europe, but any country outside of that scope- especially Middle Eastern countries- either get a momentous blip or a 30 second brief.

Not only that, but this narrow focus breeds hatred and misconceptions. The way the media focuses on only certain aspects of countries around the world shapes the way the general public forms their opinions and mindset on these nations.

All too often only the negative sides of countries outside the Western World end up presented in the news. For instance, people now associate Syria with radical terrorist group ISIS, and that leaves people assuming the majority of Syrians support ISIS- a claim completely extravagant, as Syrian refugees are fleeing (albeit mostly forced) away from ISIS.

Will our media ever be free from bias towards imperialist nations? Unfortunately, most likely not. Unless more people begin to rely on solely independent news stations free from mainstream influence, not much will change.

When it comes to major events, time will pass and people will move on to care about something else. The flag filter will fade from millions of Facebook users’ photos, and the ingrained hatred of those nations not fairly represented will persist, unless we open our hearts and understanding to every person and culture of the world.

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