Collegian: News

All the news that's fit to blog

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

When scandal takes over the real news

It's been the type of week that reporters both dread and desire. A few big stories have taken over the news cycle this past week including the horrific Amish school shooting and the Mark Foley debacle.

A scandal like Foley's makes instant headlines. Consider the Monica Lewinsky scandal. As much as people said they didn't want to read about the President's affair, they still picked up the paper. While Foley doesn't command as much media attention as a member of the Clinton family, he is still a prominent elected official. And he acted inappropriately toward a group of under age pages. Reporters start your engines.

A few days later, a disturbed man entered an Amish school in Lancaster and murdered several young women execution style. It was horrific. It was ugly. And it was news.

Covering a shooting is never fun, but it is indeed news. It is such an extremely rare event, particularly in this case, that it commands instant attention.

However, balancing two big stories such as this can be complex. Both are undoubtedly big news. The Foley scandal could shake the GOP Congressional leadership and could affect the midterm elections. No longer can the Republican party claim total ownership of the family values slogan.

But the shooting is a horrific human tragedy. It is unfortunately bigger news - unfortunate because it had to happen at all; unfortunate because the Amish people, who are generally a private and respectful people had to be harmed in such a brutal way. And it was unfortunate that the members of the Amish community have been dragged into the spotlight they generally seek to avoid. They have been dragged into our living rooms even though they have tried desperately to stay out.

We will continue to follow both events, and we hope you will too. Consider this. These two events are formative pieces of history. One could have a dramatic effect on this year's elections, and the other may change the way millions of people see the Amish community.