Condoms, cocaine and convicts

Ryan Chartrand

“Father of slain groom speaks out.” “Republicans want vote on abortion pill.” “Break from medications dangerous.”

These are just a few of the headlines that graced the pages of Yahoo! news yesterday showing that sex, drugs and violence really do dominate the news. And not because we live in a world plagued by promiscuity, illegal substances and cruelty but because that is what people want to read.

The Mustang Daily Web site received more than 300 hits when a student was hit by a train and more than 200 hits when porn star Ron Jeremy came to campus to debate. The number of hits for the poetry writing professor and Poly Rep with passion pale in comparison to the stories about sex, drugs and violence.

Many complain about all the negative headlines scattered across front pages and television stations every day but they don’t realize that they are the ones showing editors what interests them. Journalists report the news for the reader and when the reader wants death and destruction, news organizations often give it to them.

Have you ever flipped past CNN, Fox News or MSNBC during prime time hours? It’s never a straight news report, but rather Nancy Grace or Bill O’Reilly yelling at people (or interviewing as they call it) about crime, threats to society and sex scandals. Cable news stations know that’s when they can pull in the most viewers with flashy topics.

There are plenty of stories out there about condoms, cocaine and convicts, but there are also stories about teachers who inspire their students and clubs who are helping the homeless.

What does it say about society when people pass over the law-abiding do-gooders and skip straight to the drug addict who shot his girlfriend? The Mustang Daily editors are curiously awaiting the hit results of this editorial just because of its headline. It’s kind of become a rule of thumb that the spicier the headline, the more people will read our stories.

This fact is a sad reflection on what interests people today. With violent video games and movies, scandalously clad men and women glossing magazines covers, society as a whole has become desensitized.

What if everyone went home and repeated a story they saw about a great teacher and reminisced about someone who inspired them? Do the hot topics always need to be about the grisly details of a car accident? Maybe the world would be a little better off if people remembered the good things instead of the bad.

Staff editorials reflect the opinion of the Mustang Daily.

Show