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3,200 South Africans < 6 Americans

October 4, 2007

Listening to NPR on the way home this evening (I’m hooked) I learned that there was an accident in a mine in South Africa, trapping 3,200 people underground. I came home hoping to learn a little more about it, so I started with BBC and branched out from there to CNN and other US news sources.

Now, I have learned over time that the top news story on CNN is more often than not (1) about Britney, Paris, Lindsey, and their ilk; or (2) a feel-good story so soft most local weathermen would refuse to lead with it. Imagine my suprise and delight when I see that the CNN headline is actually about a mining accident. Then imagine me picking my jaw off the ground when I realize it was STILL talking about the six miners that died in Utah.

Yes, it is very sad they have died, and I feel for their families. But this is a little much. Is a story about the families in Utah being sad and frustrated the top news story of the moment? Is it even the top mining-related news story of the moment? Is it even “news” in any sense of the word at this point? Maybe we can work on being a little bit more objective when ranking the relative importance of the news stories we report on, CNN. Or at least change the tagline “The Most Trusted Name in News,” to something more appropriate, like “Hey, at Least We Aren’t Fox News!”

(In the interests of full disclosure, the South African mining story was on the CNN front page. Right in between “Mrs. Thompson: I am no trophy wife” and “Federline keeps kids but Spears can visit,” you will find “3200 trapped in South African gold mine.” Gold mine? That sounds awesome, no wonder they aren’t making a bigger deal of it.)

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