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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

COLUMN: What’s News To You?

Ah, it’s Sunday and before I sat down to write my little column here, I read a little bit of the Sunday paper. Let’s go through it together, shall we? All right, let’s see . . . The vote in Afghanistan went off with out any major problems, just a few loud protests. There is also a shortage of flu shots. Terrific. War crimes in Bosnia, Okay. There might be problems if we enter Fallujah, not too surprising. Forty-five million given to Jewish day-schools, sure. Economy, security dueling issues in the battleground state of Ohio–you don’t say. Those may all very important to some people. I’m sure if I went to a Jewish day-school right now I’d be loving life. But no, last time I checked I didn’t see too many Stars of David here at UMass Dorchester.Fallujah, national security, flu shots, Afghan votes; all-important, yes. But I was looking for something else. I wanted to know who died today fighting for our country. I searched all the pages but I didn’t see any lists, or any headlined stories. So off I went to the Department of Defense web site and I got the news releases of who died. Then I searched the New York Times for the casualty reports. After a little searching I found their lists. They were thorough and informative, but I don’t think that they were treated as well as they should have been. I mean these are people who left their homes to fight for their country, and when they give up their lives, all we have here is a name. Well, I don’t think that’s enough. The news gets sanitized so we don’t feel bad that there are PEOPLE dying and not just names.

On October 6 Jessica Cawvey from Normal, Ill., was killed in Fallujah. I wonder who Jessica was. All I know about her was that she was only 21 and came from Normal. I know her rank and that she died by an improvised explosive device. But who was she? I don’t know Jessica, or the two Andrews, or Michael. But they shouldn’t just be names. They aren’t just names.

I know they died for our country. They died so we don’t have to. They died so we can live free. They died for me and they didn’t even know me.

I wish I could have at least known who they were.

Tomorrow is another day and some poor kid, some mother, father, or brother will give their life for me, and I won’t know who they are. But I know that the Afghan vote went on peacefully, and I know that Jewish day-schools are going to be okay. I just wish that the newspapers had a better sense of priority. Jessica, Andrew, and Michael did.

Jay Upton is a Mass Media columnist. He can be contacted at [email protected].