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The Topeka Capital Journal

Thursday, October 29, 1998

KSU speaker says media focus misses the mark

By MATT MOLINE
Special The Capital-Journal

MANHATTAN The national news media are ignoring vital life-or-death stories around the world. Oscar®-winning documentary film producer Barbara Trent charged in a lecture at Kansas State University.

At the same time, network news broadcasters, for instance, continue to be overly occupied with the Clinton-Lewinsky matter, Trent contended Tuesday in a Lou Douglas Lecture Series on Public Issues in the KSU Union.

"There are major things happening in this world that are life and death-related," she said, "and it seems to me that's what we need to be hearing from the media."

Trent cited the possibility of imminent U.S. military air strikes in Serbia as an example of a current news topic that is deserving of more play among national media outlets.

"We (also) have an embargo against the people of Iraq," Trent said, "and there are children dying every day because they don't have clean water because we bombed out the infrastructure (in the Gulf War)."

Trent, who won the 1992 documentary film Academy Award for her film, "The Panama Deception," also criticized the national media for failing to report the real story behind the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989, which resulted in thousands of unnecessary civilian casualties, she said.

"We need to 'follow the dollar' when we read the news." Trent said. "Whenever you read we're going someplace in the world to bring democracy to a country, just for once, assume it's not true. What might be another reason for an invasion? (Exploring the other possible reasons) is what the news media ought to be talking about."

An audience of about 250 attended the presentation the third event this fall in the lecture series devoted to human rights, social justice and world peace, organizers said.

The series' sponsors include Manhattan philanthropist Mary Douglas and Dr. Bill Roy and his wife. Jane, of Topeka.

Trent. 52, who lives in Chapel Hill, N.C., admonished listeners "to do something every day to make this a better place, this whole planet we live on."

"Whether it's just talking to the next person to you in line at the grocery store about what they think about something," she said, "or letting the guy in the car in front of you make that left turn.

"Together, I think we can make things work."

 

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