The media presents itself as being in some way empathetic. They are there, they are broadcasting, because they care, because somehow bringing the images into our homes, over here across so much water, can … well, what?
Surely anyone with a true need for information can access it through official channels? Appeals for donations are hardly a key feature of the current rolling cover. It follows then that everything else is a sideshow staged purely for amusement.
The relationship between media and victims is so often plainly exploitative. Look no further than this afternoon’s News Limited websites, the Herald Sun and the Daily Telegraph. Both featured screen-wide images of a family, a father and two children, moments after they had been told there was no hope that their mother could have survived the crushing impact of the quake.
All three are caught by the camera in a frozen spasm of grief. It is torture to see. It is an extraordinary intrusion … a stolen moment of agony that has nothing to do with any of us. The news agencies that flog the image have nothing to offer these people in return. No empathy, no support, merely a momentary exploitation of sorrow in the hope the image might arrest the passing internet eye and draw traffic. Grotesque.
From the mouths of editors.
Jonathan Green, of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s The Drum blog posted an AMAZINGLY frank article today.
Public information officers and public relations folks have, I’m sure, felt this very same way when dealing with the media, especially a national or international media. Swoop in, soak up resources, exploit the survivors and off like a flash without enriching–or even helping–the damaged community. Your community.
I see so many lessons that we’ve talked about here, and so many more that I want to talk about that I’m kind of speechless. Understanding the media, ensuring that your local media is taken care of, ensuring that your community is shown in the best possible light, providing access, the list goes on and on. And yet, I’m taken aback by the frank tone of the article. The scathing language used. The validation of all of our worst fears.
Reading back over my post now, I wish that I had let it stand by itself. I worry that I cheapen this single example of a member of the media calling his profession out. In the end, I left my thoughts only as an introduction to entreat you to forward this post widely.