Editorial: Do not believe everything you see

War is not only fought differently today than it was 50 years ago, the war is also covered by the media in a completely different way. Whereas reporters used to have to wait hours or even sometimes days for the latest information, technology today enables reports to be sent almost instantaneously. With such high levels of capability, the latest from the battlefront is available around the clock. Or is it?

Although the media certainly has the capability of reporting the news as it happens from Iraq, is the information broadcast in the United States what is really happening on the frontlines? More than likely, the answer is probably not.

Every station that broadcasts news and every newspaper that sends stories from the region has its own agenda, and above all each wants to attract and retain as many viewers and readers as possible. Many people forget that while the news medias advertises its mission to report the most accurate and honest news out there, the primary concern of each news outlet is to make a profit. The media is a business just like any other business in corporate America and will fight to either stay on top of the charts or climb up the economic ladder. So while viewers are switching channels or flipping through the pages to find the most entertaining story, the editors and producers are searching for the most entertaining story as well.

Finding and reporting the story that will attract the most attention often comes at the cost at burying or sometimes eliminating other stories all together. The sensationalized battles, rescues and takeovers move to the front, while the images of civilian casualties, Saddam supporters and defeated coalition troops find their way to the cutting room floor.

America does not want to see or read about the entirety of war. The majority only want to hear about the good guys winning and the bad guys losing. But war is not as black and white as that, and it is the gray that often is left out of the American news reports.

Yes, it is true that what is reported is true to a large extent; it is just not the whole picture of what is transpiring. To understand the true events of the war, as all citizens should, one must go to alternative news sources that do not have the same agenda has the major media sources. Internet sites called blogs, personal journal accounts, are a good source of information. People who have no motive other than to pass on information post their daily observations of the conflict as seen from Iraq and its neighboring countries. Other alternative sources are foreign papers and newscasts that have agendas different from those of the United States.

The war is real and is out there, and as educated citizens of the United States, it is our job to stay informed of the events transpiring around us.