Why should we care?

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We should: It’s hard to say the events in Syria aren’t getting enough attention since that seems to be on the tip of everyone’s tongues lately.

The problem is: do those tongues really know what they’re talking about?

Now, I don’t claim to be an expert on Syria by any means; I hardly know enough to inform other people. But it’s our responsibility to keep ourselves informed.

When something this major is happening, we should be doing more than just watching the morning news or scanning the headlines on our smartphones.

Not every channel can report everything perfectly, so we owe it to ourselves and each other to expose ourselves to a variety of

Here’s an overview of what’s happening:

— Peaceful protests began in March 2011.

— The Syrian government overreacted and began killing civilians in huge numbers. Thus, a civil war broke out.

— There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight, especially now that chemical weapons have been introduced into the mix.

— In recent weeks, President Obama has considered taking military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

— If the U.S. were to get involved, we would be in yet another war we probably have no business being in.

Don’t consider yourself informed now that you know that, though.

Go out and do your own reasearch. Take a look at what The New York Times thinks or what Brian Williams and Megyn Kelly have to say.

Heck, let Jon Stewart in there. One of his correspondents might interest you enough to find out more. You may even find a perspective on the issue that really matters to you.

We shouldn’t: I know we all love a good viral video. And when it includes twerking and a girl setting herself on fire…even better.

That’s the gist of the latest viral craze and I think it’s totally fine to indulge in that kind of thing.

However, it crosses the line when it’s aired on news shows and cable news networks. The ladies of “The View” yapping about it is one thing, but when you’ve got people over at MSNBC — “a place for politics” — airing the video and trying to turn it into news, I can’t help but think there must be something more important going on somewhere.

Yes, our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. And yes, we are relying more on the entertainment value of our news. But when people tune into a cable news show, they’re expecting a cable news show.

If people want to seek out “epic fail twerk girl” that’s their own business (and while I think their time could be better spent doing, oh, I don’t know … anything else, I get it).

These frivolous videos shouldn’t be forced upon us in what is supposed to be a forum for information gathering and intelligent debates.

Unfortunately, the news media are just giving us what we tell them we want. The presence of short videos in news broadcast is a direct reflection of our culture. That’s what gets ratings, so that’s what’s on TV.

The best part of this whole thing is it was all staged by Jimmy Kimmel. He and this stunt woman, Daphne Avalon, quietly posted this video and it quickly went viral.

When even Jimmy Kimmel is laughing at us and how easily distracted we are, we might need to reassess our priorities.

I’m all for taking the occasional break from the scary “real world” with silly YouTube videos, but when those videos are infiltrating our news regularly, we have a problem.

 

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