I hate CNN because of Osama bin Laden

Four hours ago, I woke up to a text from Travis about how Osama bin Laden was killed last night.

Then my roommate, Efua, who had also just woken up, said, “Did you know? Osama bin Laden was killed! I’m sure you are happy.”

I texted some friends about it. Then Efua and I turned on our radio to listen to the BBC news. We heard Obama’s announcement and quotes from leaders from all over the world- the French president, the German chancellor, an Egyptian brigadier general, a Pakistani mayor, a Russian diplomat. They all expressed their happiness and relief and cautioned that this doesn’t end terrorism.

I went downstairs to have breakfast with some ISEP friends. Jokes ensued. Evan alleged, “From what I heard, Obama challenged Osama to a gentlemen’s duel.” We talked about what this means. Is al-Qaeda finished? Will bin Laden be seen as a martyr? Why was his body disposed of so quickly? Is Obama guaranteed reelection because of this?

From what I heard on the BBC and from some of my Ghanaian friends in the dorm, people all over the world are happy about this but cautious to declare what it actually means. The response seemed balanced and intelligent.

Then I left the dorm to find internet access.

Right now, I’m sitting in an internet café in Accra. CNN is playing. I can’t think of the last time I was exposed to such terror and bloodthirsty rhetoric. The newscasters are worried about how Muslims in Africa and the Middle East will respond to this. This is in addition to their use of phrases like “Islam’s terrorism”. They seem to be painting a picture that the rest of the world disagrees with the idea that terrorism should be combated. That’s not the impression that I get from “the rest of the world”, and I’m there right now.

It’s infuriating. How can the popular media betray Americans like this? Why are they fueling paranoia and fear? It’s bizarre and not realistic at all. It’s understandable, if barbaric, that people are celebrating so much in the streets in DC. But why all this dangerous and irresponsible rhetoric from our “news” sources? If you’re watching CNN or any American news channel right now, please keep in mind their inexplicable and hazardous bias that only fuels violent sentiment. I don’t understand why they are intentionally so inflammatory. Are ratings worth the lies?

Quote of the day, from Travis, via text: So Osama bin Laden has been found and killed, which I guess is a good thing, but I find it disgusting that people are celebrating the death of anyone.

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8 responses to “I hate CNN because of Osama bin Laden

  1. Do you think ratings are the reason? I can’t tell if it’s that the rhetoric has been fear-mongering and other-ing so shamelessly for so long that it’s now the natural way to report on and pay attention to news, and therefore it’s the way we know how to talk/think about “the rest of the world.” It resonates as true, and we want to believe it, because we’re afraid?

    Irresponsible.

    • I don’t know. If that’s true, then why is the BBC so reasonable and American news so irrational? When I go home, I will destroy any TVs in my path unless they’re showing Krat’s Kreatures or unedited footage of international events.

  2. “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that” Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Noelle put this on her wall, and I thought it was extremely appropriate considering the “mass” opinion of what I’ve seen today. Even on NPR on the way to work I heard some opinions that were biased, inflammatory, and silly. I found facebook extremely depressing today as many people posted subtitled memes about bin Laden’s death.

    I don’t know why the US media would attempt to enhance paranoia. I think ratings must be part of it, but maybe there’s something else. Ever since 9/11 and the War on Terror started, we’ve been constantly reminded of threat level colors and what we can’t take with us into airports. We’ve been taught for the last decade to be wary about the rest of the world, and even with this “good” news, I think the media does not want to risk challenging an America vs. Rest of the World paradigm.

  3. Let this be an example of why you should choose your source of news carefully. The advent of 24-7 cable news channels has made sensationalism and subjectivism even more dominant in our news stream. We need journalism and intellectual commentary, not fear-mongering or frenzied celebration. I like the New York Times, and my local newspaper Wisconsin State Journal, supplemented by NPR and sometimes other sources. For television, the half-hour network evening news programs are good, but what is even better is PBS’s News Hour in which sufficient time is given to each story to get in depth reporting and to portray various opinions from experts of varying political opinions.

    By the way, did you know the terror threat colors are over? They have been replaced with targeted, specific “alerts”

  4. Pingback: Africa: Osama’s Death: How the Letter O Helped Obama · Global Voices

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