Agenda setting

For a brief moment, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina brought life back into the mainstream U.S. media. We witnessed assertive, aggressive journalists questioning government officials with a fierce integrity. Yes, classic journalism had finally returned to its original purpose which is to protect the public and question authority. We wondered to ourselves, how long can this last?

The President is at an all time low in popularity. His party is riddled with controversy. Indictments and investigations into Republican leaders are making headline news. Appointments of poorly qualified individuals by the administration continue. And today, not surprisingly, President Bush once again attempts to refocus our minds with a return to “terror” discussion. Apparently, this is a much more palatable subject matter for the G.O.P. Making Americans fearful enough to believe they need President Bush to protect them seems to be a consistent winner for the Republicans. Funny thing, the timing of these New York terror alerts today.

Following Hurricane Katrina, the press opened the world’s eyes to the deep and disturbing failures of the U.S. government. They reminded us of the vast population of impoverished people in our nation and the degrading regard our economic policy has for those who truly need. If only our press would continue the momentum started in New Orleans. Highlighting the growing poverty rate, particularly during this administration, and those impacted is crucial to our future. Allowing government to once again set the agenda for what is ‘newsworthy’ is gross negligence. Sadly so, it looks like that’s where we’re headed…again.

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