Letter: New kind of bias

(U-WIRE) CORVALLIS, Ore. – When watching the coverage of Hurricane Wilma in Mexico on American news networks, you will see many things: dilapidated four-star resorts, grouchy white tourists and million-dollar beaches in shambles.

What you won’t see are the thousands of actual Mexican citizens whose homes, lives and families are in ruins.

One tourist compared the experience to “a campground” saying it was “fun for the moment.” Other tourists describe the hurricane experience as “exciting.”

Were these Americans to take one step outside and look at the shantytowns set up around their million-dollar resorts, the excitement of the hurricanes would cease to exist.

Many U.S. news reports speak of the annoyance tourists feel about being delayed from returning to their homes and jobs in the states. Perhaps these tourists should consider themselves lucky that they have jobs and homes to return to and the only thing that was disturbed was their vacation.

In Cancun, the Mexican people are in turmoil, all of their worldly possessions have been washed away. Their billion-dollar tourist industry has been washed out to sea. They are hungry, desperate and in need of aid.

These are not the people you will see on U.S. news reports.

In fact, locals are usually only mentioned with reference to looting and other crimes. U.S. news reports tell horror stories of locals breaking down storefronts.

There are no photos of frightened Mexican children huddled in the ruins of their houses, only pictures of looters being escorted away by policemen.

Can these people really be blamed for stealing canned goods and supplies with no aid in sight and no safe place to sleep?

There was no protection for these poor people, yet a Cancun Wal-Mart was given guards to protect its contents from looters, according to MSNBC.com.

The bias of U.S. news reporting is unbelievable, placing the inconvenience of American tourists over the suffering of the local residents of Mexico and the problems they now face because of this natural disaster.

Perhaps the American people would not be so blase about world events if their news provided them with accurate information about the suffering and injustice happening today.

Staff Editorial

OSU Daily Barometer (Oregon State U.)