Celebrity News is a Double-Edged Sword

COMMENTARY | On Oct. 31, E! News reported that Kim Kardashian filed for divorce after 72 days of marriage. Magazines including Star, US Weekly, and People, all rushed to make this story their cover feature. With daytime talk shows like “The View” and “Ellen” discussing all the rumors and drama, they missed a few important news updates.

Stories of national importance from this day included a freak storm that hit the Northeast, knocking out power to 1.7 million people and postponing trick-or-treating. CNN also announced the dates for the presidential election debates.

Internationally, CNN reported two major announcements out of Libya within 24 hours: “The country’s new authorities had discovered some of Gadhafi’s chemical weapons and need help dealing with them, and NATO was ending its mission to protect Libya’s civilians.”

I understand that the fall of Kardashian’s marriage is captivating, and with more than 4 million people watching the wedding, it makes sense that just as many were interested in the split. The problem we run into with filling so much media coverage with celebrities, is that important news stories that affect more than just a few people, sometimes entire nations, get less air time.

The stories about Libya are ones that affect the global community. Chemical weapons that were found in Libya, simply put, affect more people than Kardashian’s divorce. Unfortunately, chemical weapons don’t produce the amount of hype and attention that TV stations or magazines are aiming for; advertisers aren’t looking for something that may only reach a few thousand people, when celebrity news can generate millions of people’s interest.

There is a fine line between the media’s responsibility to relay important messages, and their responsibility to stay in business to continue to relay these messages. While celebrities may not deserve the excess attention they get in the media, they do so because of viewership.

While mindless celebrity gossip sometimes takes attention away from real world problems; it also serves as distraction from the constant flow of bad or sad news. I may complain about to much celebrity news, but I know I would complain just as much if there was none.

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