Is the Heartland Addicted to War Coverage?



Is the Heartland Addicted to War Coverage?
By: Kate Scott

(Cape Girardeau, MO)--War is the first thing on our minds right now, and often that means it's the first thing we turn to on television.

News coverage of the “Showdown with Saddam” is everywhere, and many people just can't get enough of it.  In fact, some folks in the Heartland will tell you they’re “addicted” to war coverage.  And they’re not just watching it at home.

“I watch as much as I can,” says Tom Berkbigler of Cape Girardeau.  “I read the newspapers and watch the news as much as I possibly can.”  Berkbigler has discovered he can watch the war coverage while getting his workout at Universal Health and Fitness. Of course, as an Army Reserve Officer, he really needs to know what's going on.

But ten-year-old Cecilia Radetic doesn't. She just wants to.  “Well, I'm in the fifth grade, and I think that by my age, I should know what's going on too,” she explains to Heartland News.  “I watch it every single night, because I think its kind of weird what's going on.  This is the first war I’ve lived through.”

Over on the SEMO campus, fraternity brothers in the Sigma Tau Gamma house are just as consumed by the constant coverage.  “I would say that we are addicted to it,” says fraternity president Mike Garber.  “It's usually on in our house whenever we come home. There's somebody sitting here watching it, or we're flipping back and forth to it, because it's on a lot of different channels.”

And if they decide to go over to Nick's Family Sports Bar to grab a bite to eat, they can watch the war there too.  “We always have at least one or two TV’s showing the war on,” says employee Nathan Smith.  And he points out that it’s not just customers who want to know what’s going on hour by hour.  “I'm not tired of it yet.”

So what it is about this war that's compelling us to watch, even more so than in wars past?  “Before, we could read in Time Magazine and the newspapers where the troops were,” Garber offers his conclusion, remembering Operation Desert Storm.  “But now we get to see what kind of guns they're carrying, what kind of gear they're wearing, and where they're at.  It affects us because we get to see them as people out there, actually living and doing it.”

And, as young Cecilia Radetic sees it, it’s history in the making.  “I don't think I’ll ever get tired of it until it ends,” she declares. 

While there are some people who say they’re already tired of watching the war coverage, Radetic isn’t the only person who says she doesn’t expect to tire of it.  Many people say they're not going to stop tuning in until American troops can come home.