Several days ago I learned of the ongoing earthquakes that have been crippling New Zealand. I wasn’t informed by the major news networks, but through a phone conversation with a family member. To further inform myself, I did a google search, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Christchurch_earthquake and wikipedia corroborated that the 7.1 magnitude Canterbury quake of September, 4th 2010, was followed by a series of earthquakes and aftershocks in the region throughout that year, leading to a deadly quake on February 22nd, 2011 in Christchurch, followed by a multitude of aftershocks and swarm of earthquakes since. These have continued in 2012.
Having recently returned to the United States from Berlin, Germany to visit my parents, I join them in their evening ritual of watching the NBC nightly news TV broadcast with Brian Williams. With respect to the fact that the devastation has been so great and the horror perpetuates, my question is, why has this not been considered newsworthy? Classified as strong, to destructive and violent – often measuring above 5.0 on the Richter scale – these quakes occurring within a 20 mile radius of Christchurch, the second largest city in New Zealand, have caused destruction so great, that the communities have not been able to rebuild.
Regardless of the fact that this is located on the other side of the world (from the USA), I would think that it is of more import than the Republican circus. If dozens of recurring earth quakes of this magnitude were happening consistently in Los Angeles or San Francisco, coverage of this would inundate our television news broadcasts.
It took my sister, residing in England, who conversed with a woman from New Zealand while each waited in line for the new iPad to be released, for this information to circulate. Geological fault-lines running within the area, similar to that of the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East Africa rift, is the source of the activity.
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/11/albertine-rift/draper-text This National Geographic article describes not only the geological characteristics of the Albertine rift, but also the paramount social unrest in this fertile area, rich in natural resources and territorial competition; man against man, man against animals, man against nature.
Surely, the media conglomerates and U.S. government had been aware of the genocide in Ruanda when it was at its height, and the atrocities occurring in Uganda and the Congo (countries adjacent to the Albertine rift). Is the assessment of the gravity of what is considered noteworthy or newsworthy; decided as to whether we are trading partners, what resources there are to tap into, the GDP of the country or how the economic entities within the involved region list on the stock exchange?
It is comical how politicized and economically driven what is considered ‘news’, according to the major U.S. networks. It appears that it takes private individuals with video cameras, such as the ‘Kony’ epidemic, http://www.kony2012.com/ or feature films, to alert and inform the American public; individual’s rallying to bring events involving humanitarian and natural disasters to the public’s attention. This same sister who had worked in the CBS New York news department for years, alluded to this fact. What was designated, and often decided within the last minutes before air time, as newsworthy, often dangles on someone’s agenda.