Friday, May 11, 2007

Paris Hilton vs. Iraq? Never thought I'd say that...

So, I was talking with one of my friends in the car yesterday about how it is really sad that more people in the United States know about Paris Hilton and her new saga than about what is going on in Iraq. Could this be true? Not for many of the people here at Medill, but outside our bubble?

I decided to take a poll online. I sent ten IM’s out to my friends asking them all if they knew what was going on in Iraq today. Only one of them knew what was going on. Some of them responded with how in the world would I know that, Abby? Don’t judge. I honestly do not think my friends are the only ones.

For those of you out of the loop, Paris Hilton is facing jail time. As of Thursday, she could spend three weeks or less in jail rather than the original 45 day sentence because of overcrowding. She violated her probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case.

Most likely, everyone reading this already knew that… but how is it that nobody knows what is going on in Iraq? Do people even care anymore? Many of the people I sent IM’s to did not care about Iraq, which I find unfortunate. When I asked them why they cared about Paris Hilton, they said they did not care… it was just all over the news.

In Iraq today, their President announced his country would need U.S. troops for one to two more years. I am surprised that nobody had heard of that, because many of the people I asked are pretty open about their feelings on the war… yet they had not heard about this.

I cannot say that I was not totally intrigued by the whole Paris Hilton saga. I love celebrity gossip. I just wonder what news is more important to people these days. I realize there will always be an audience for the ‘What is going on in Iraq?’ news… but I strongly believe it is becoming smaller and smaller by the day. I realize I am making bold statements, but when you ask ten people if they know what happened in Iraq vs. what happened with Paris Hilton and only one person can answer the question of what happened in Iraq, where is that hard news audience. I think it is slowly fading.

I want to make it clear as my last point that I am not saying the audience for hard news will slowly fade away completely. There will always be an audience for that, but just how big will it be?


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