Wacky videos vs. newsworthy reporting

Dominique Lyons

I love cute, little things as much as the next manly man — and as a Kent State student I’m particularly partial to squirrels (especially evil, little black ones). But as I was combing through my CNN app on my phone (or as I like to call it, my Swiss army computer), I came across a video of a squirrel that just didn’t seem to belong.

I’m not bashing the video, and if you haven’t seen it you should definitely check it out. It’s 58- adrenaline-packed seconds of squirrel-on-sports-car action. The only thing comparable in action-packed cuteness would be a puppy-kitten fusion in a Michael Bay film.

The squirrel runs across a racetrack, under a Lamborghini, and comes out on the other side alive (as in not road kill). It’s an amazing video (if you haven’t already figured that out), and I’m still trying to figure out if I what I saw counts as proof of math’s real-world applications (that squirrel was the one-in-a-million), or just as evidence that the squiggly spaghetti monster in the sky really cares about Earth’s rodents.

My problem is not with the video and its undisputed amount of awesome. My problem lies within the video’s (ir)relevance. And it’s not just this video; it’s a whole gaggle (yes, I am likening these videos to a flock of geese). I disagree with the whole “Offbeat” section of CNN.

The Offbeat section is full of videos with titles like “Gorilla mascot attacked by a ‘banana’” (which happened in Ohio, by the way), “You left your rifle where?” and “Traffic-stopping pole dance.” As you can see, the Offbeat section really isn’t the cream of the news crop.

The question, then, is whether or not a world-renowned news mogul, such as CNN, should really have an Offbeat section. I think not. Such things are interesting, and they usually can be counted as news in the sense that they are new, but they don’t matter. The news that goes in the Offbeat section is more befitting a local newspaper like the Akron Beacon Journal.

The squirrel story and its other Offbeat section comrades don’t fit in with the other, more hard-hitting stories that CNN offers. It’s like telling a joke in the middle of a speech about the AIDS epidemic, and if CNN readers want something like that, it’s hardly too much to ask for them to click over to one of the bazillions of other websites that would be a better home for the Offbeat section and its wards.

Dominique Lyons is a sophomore news major.

Contact her at [email protected].