EDITORIAL: Wedding bells sound too loudly

AT ISSUE: Royal Wedding overshadows war, tornadoes in news media

The Maroon

Since Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their engagement in November, they have monopolized the attention of individuals worldwide. More significantly, the festivities dominated the news cycle, stealing headlines left, right and center.

For months, the global press faithfully reported every mundane detail of the affair, from the exact number of diamonds on the engagement ring to the centimeter count of Kate’s train. We played the game better than any other contender, with Nielsen reporting that the United States devoted a far higher share of news coverage to the Royal Wedding than the United Kingdom.

Unfortunately, the analysis of the wedding largely eclipsed news of vital global developments, diverting our attention from more somber matters. Some may have appreciated this fantastical break from reality, but many of us have been held a captive audience, searching front pages in search of the real news.

While we, as a nation, have been drooling over tulle and tradition, we have missed quite a bit. A staggering number of our fellow U.S. citizens perished in the second-deadliest tornado outbreak our nation has ever seen. Japan suffered a devastating earthquake and tsunami, followed by a nuclear crisis to rival Chernobyl. The United States intervened in the Libyan conflict, responding to civilian casualties at the hands of Muammar Gaddafi by sending in unmanned drones. Intense unrest continues in the Middle East and Africa, threatening domestic revolution and international change. U.S. courts have both progressed and regressed, striking down the funding ban on stem cell research and handing the tobacco industry another conquest. The International Monetary Fund prophesized the Chinese economy will surpass that of the United States in 2016. And by the way, the price for a gallon of oil is about to hit four dollars.

As if these new developments are not enough, there’s also a multitude of ongoing crises that we have been neglecting. Our troops are still stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan, while our drones are still flying above Pakistan. Our economy is still besieged, and our family and friends are still out of jobs. Al-Qaida is still planning terrorist attacks, and its members are still succeeding. The Gulf Coast is still suffering from last year’s BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and our wetlands are still shrinking. Haiti is still striving to recover from last year’s catastrophic earthquake.

We are not exactly suffering from an absence of noteworthy topics for our journalists to cover, but, judging by the takeover of Royal Wedding fever, some might think this is the case. Our press, it seems, would rather discuss the embroidery on Kate’s dress than debate the merit of our intervention in Libya. Our nation, it appears, would rather comment on royal fashion choices than mourn the recent disasters in Alabama.

Fortunately, the nuptials have passed and we have a chance to escape the folly. Now that we have the Royal Wedding out of our system, let’s vow to stop turning our news organizations into entertainment portals and promise to get back to the real news.