Monday, March 14, 2011

Is the reporting of human disaster on TV looking more and more like entertainment to you?

I’ve noticed something and wonder if you have too.  Increasingly, disasters, whether *natural* or *man-made* are  broadcast on television rather like entertainment.

The repeated images, the attention-grabbing headlines and promotional taglines, the entertainment style delivery by newsreaders and program announcers of news bulletins charged with superlatives and provocative metaphors, the ticker-tape, so-called up-to-the-minute, yet repetitive, bite-sized, twitter-type news updates at the bottom of your screen…

You’d be forgiven if you thought it was information you simply could not afford to miss.  And by golly, they don’t let you.  Well, as long as you have your television on.

Let’s be fair here, you can turn the darn thing off.  And I do.  But when I do turn it on once a day to see the news (not an entirely unreasonable thing to do, wouldn't you agree?),  I am offended by the treatment of seriously catastrophic news as if it were entertainment.  I mean, one rarely has time for dramatic pauses and marketing worthy headlines and scripts when one sees tragedy or is sincerely and respectfully reporting it.  

The tragedy itself draws our attention and our somber regard and empathy for those involved.  There seems neither need nor place for the kind of melodramatic broadcasts that one expects and gets in the promotion of entertainmen.  In fact, I think it’s downright disrespectful and objectionable.  

Worse still, with all this kind of *reporting* and *broadcasts*, I find myself actually morbidly looking forward to the next worse catastrophe that is feared to unfold.  

‘How many more people will have died?  19 is too small a toll for a disaster of this proportion.’

‘Can we see images of people affected by the nuclear plant explosion?  I wonder what they will look like?’

‘Oh, wow, look at the height of that tidal wave!  Oh, look at those boats crashing into each other!  Oh, gosh, look at all those cars floating in the water and the trucks just tumbling over like tonka trucks’.

Are these some of my thoughts and reactions?  

Yes, they are.  But some of them (like the ‘tonka truck’ analogy) have been found fit to be broadcast.

How different is watching disaster reportage on television to watching an action movie or thriller?  Or people playing violent video games? 

Are you similarly affected by this as I am?  What are your thoughts?

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