Oil Spills Are So Last Season
Yellowstone River Oil Spill
Switching on the 24 hour cable news channels, the same stories play over and over again, as if I were on the swirling tea cups in Disney land. Except this isn’t where dreams are found, in fact it’s the opposite. Stories of the mundane and the worse of the worse seem to grab the mainstream media’s attention. Each Story comes with the dramatization and spin to tailor a specific audience while also entertaining them as well. This process brings some stories to light, while others are buried within social networking or a brief mention in between the new viral cat video of the week and the new report on the fad diet of the season. So not to my surprise, between the end of June and the beginning of July the news has been filled with a few huge news stories yet also missing an important one. Over the last few weeks it would be hard not to notice the stories raging in the news including the debt ceiling issue and the Casey Anthony trial. Don’t get me wrong these stories need to be reported on but to consume majority of the news while other stories exists is irresponsible. In particular I am talking about the July 1st Exxon spill in the Yellowstone River of Montana.
The oil spill is the result of a broken pipeline beneath the river, which broke open a 12 inch hole and spewed oil into the water. What confuses me is that this story had all the potential for the media to turn it into a money making drama, which would at least bring more awareness to the detriment we have brought to our environment. One, the story involves an oil spill, AN OIL SPILL! The number one story of last summer involved an oil spill in the gulf and I feel if this had happen last year it would have been more recognized. Two, the spill involves an infamous company from a previous oil spill, Exxon Valdez ring any bells? This spill was also the product of the oil company Exxon, which should have brought it into the spot light of media attention, yet it did not. Finally it not only took place on Independence Day weekend but also in a river named after one of our country’s most well known national parks. These two cultural icons should have brought the media hawks in for the kill, yet the Yellowstone River Oil Spill has only made it to the fringe of major media outlets, with only a few mentions here and there.
So what would be accomplished if this story had made a bigger splash?
Awareness of this event could have a number of impacts on public opinion and actions. The biggest one relates to the debate going on in the heartland of the nation, where a pipe line is being proposed to transport oil from Canada to the U.S. However according to a MarketWatch article, the spill will not have an impact on the building of this pipeline. Another impact a bigger story would have had is an impact on public opinion in regards to more responsibility for oil companies to protect, not only our environment, but our national heritage. Finally seeing another oil spill on the news may influence people to reevaluate their oil usage and what is really needed in their lives, learning how they can conserve.
So once again the public has been mesmerized by the dramatic events of the major media outlets and their constant coverage of a murder trial, blinding them to the blackening waters of the Yellowstone River. Until the media chooses stories for the purpose of news rather than ratings, important stories like the Yellowstone River oil spill will flow downstream unnoticed unlike the oil in Montana. I guess oil spill stories are truly last season.