I got a little upset today. I saw a Snopes post on Facebook regarding a medalist, Kim Rhode. Rhode is a trap shooter and just medaled in her sixth consecutive Olympics. That’s a fantastic achievement. However, a meme created somewhere said she was being ignored by the mainstream media because she loves guns and Trump.
Holy crap that’s annoying. Not taking anything away from Rhode’s accomplishment. I don’t think I could be at the top of my game for 20 years. But no one cares about shooting sports! Seriously, it’s one of the least popular sports at the Olympics.
There were stories about Rhode, just not as much as some of the popular sports like swimming and gymnastics. And this story from NPR is actually pretty positive about Rhode and guns. (Yet, I’m guessing the same people who created and shared the meme probably think NPR is some commie liberal outfit.) In an era where people have no attention span, do you really think they’re going to devote extensive air time to a sport that isn’t all that popular, nor is it fun to watch.
My biggest annoyance with this is that people don’t seem to understand the larger context in how we get the news. It’s not three channels and a bunch of newspapers. There are literally thousands of places to get news. Not all of them are good, but there are a lot of them. We also expect to get it for free. If it’s not pumping into our brain exactly when we want it, we get upset.
However, if there’s an interest out there, there’s probably a speciality blog or internet site devoted to it. (And really just google Kim Rhode, there’s plenty of stories on her.)
If you haven’t noticed, but lots of news gathering operations have slashed budgets in recent years. Reporters are asked to do more with less. You need eyeballs. That doesn’t excuse the reporting media for everything, but give them some slack.
There’s also a tendency for people to think, “This is important to me, why isn’t it important to everyone else?” I understand that tendency for some issues, but do we really have to care about a sport that costs a lot of money, involves equipment that many Americans don’t care to own, and is involved with a culture that many people are turned off by? I don’t. In fact, I really don’t care for the culture surrounding many sports, but I just ignore them.
A former teacher of mine once told me something along the lines of, when you realize that the majority of the world is not out to get you, it becomes a lot easier to get through live. (I realize there’s a touch of privilege in that statement.) The media isn’t “ignoring” Rhode. And even if the collective it of the media was, it’s not becaus she likes guns and Trump. It’s because her sport isn’t that popular.
It’s so easy to complain about things and think everything is unfair. It’s much harder to do something about it. Do something about it.