Ceren Polat ‘18 & Megan Ferguson ‘19: North Korea and nuclear weapons, gun violence, and the situation in Puerto Rico can wait. As far as the media is concerned, broadcasting the disagreements between the NFL and the President is their primary focus.
Kneeling for the national anthem continues to spark controversy on news outlets, but on October 9, during the Indianapolis Colts vs. the San Francisco 49ers football game, the idea became the focus of the media again. Vice President, Mike Pence, attended this particular game, but displayed disappointment when players from the 49ers took a knee. After the national anthem, Pence exited the stadium, later tweeting, “I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag, or our National Anthem.” Not long after, President Donald Trump sent out a firestorm of tweets stating, “He [Pence] is receiving great praise for leaving such a game after the players showed such disrespect for our country!” and “Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country…”
Why is the media focusing on the NFL when there are much larger, more pressing events taking place around the world?
The majority media’s leading edge focuses on headlines concerning the NFL protests while topics such as, the Las Vegas shooting and military threats with North Korea seem to be secondary or alternative news coverage.
Many people are unaware of events that have taken place between the United States and North Korea. On October 10th, according to CNN.com, it was announced from South Korea’s National Assembly that North Korean hackers allegedly stole classified military documents. Approximately 235 gigabytes were stolen, including war plans. Along with this, North Korean foreign minister announced that “Trump has lit the wick of war.” As tensions escalate between the countries, those who are aware of the current global climate are fearful of what’s to come.
During this same time period and in the aftermath of recent hurricanes, the Las Vegas shooting and gun violence appear to also be secondary news. It was released that six minutes before Stephen Paddock began shooting into the crowd of concertgoers, he shot a security guard who reported to his room when a nearby hotel door was found open. The guard, Jesus Campos, then notified police and helped direct them to his location. Inside the room, authorities also found a note containing information about trajectory from the hotel to the concert grounds, according to CNN.com
The US commonwealth, Puerto Rico, has also been pushed into the background of the media. Weeks after Hurricane Maria hit on September 20th, approximately 85% of the residents are still left without electricity, while another 40% are without running water. President Donald Trump later tweeted “…We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!”’
Social media and the news has been inundated with information regarding the NFL protests and the White House. Yet during this time period, the events that have taken place involving North Korea, gun safety, and the current conditions in Puerto Rico have been pushed to the side, leaving the unfortunate question remaining: why is the media focusing on the NFL when clearly there are larger, more impactful events happening all around the world?