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Media priorities

Over 150 dead in Iraq bombings. I wonder if there's a Celebdaq-type thing for news stories, so that we can see how much column inches each story gets. I'd like to compare the column inches per head for these 150 people to the column inches devoted to the 32 people killed on Monday at Virginia Tech.

I can understand that everyone's more affected by things happening in their own country, but it's been all over the news in Britain too, and I'd bet it has been all over the Western European news, to a slightly lesser extent. And I'm hoping it's just desensitisation because there's been so many attacks and so many killed in Iraq, because otherwise it's disturbingly close to racism.

I should say that I'm as guilty of this as anyone, probably, and I'm not having a go at anyone who's mentioned the Virginia Tech shootings, of course!

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( 8 comments — Comment )
lordofthewheel
Apr. 18th, 2007 06:23 pm (UTC)
Probably something to do with the fact that Iraq is a war zone, so people are expected to die (that sounds harsh, it isn't meant to, sorry) whereas you don't expect, or shouldn't expect, mass killings in to developed nations of the world...
pickwick
Apr. 18th, 2007 07:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, there might be something in that. I'm sure there was a huge train crash in India recently that we didn't hear much about, but again, killings are more newsworthy than transport failures.
garunya
Apr. 18th, 2007 10:16 pm (UTC)
There were the bombings in Algeria last week that left 23 dead, but I certainly didn't hear much about that.

I think people are almost always going to have a lot more empathy for things if they can imagine themselves in that situation.

Faraway places and unfamiliar cultures they would never be? Because it's unfamiliar to them, they don't make the same emotional connection.

It's not good, but I do think that's a big part of it.
pickwick
Apr. 19th, 2007 05:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I think it shouldn't be like that, but I think it's just the way humans are, and there's nothing we can do about it. I'm not even sure if we'd want to - we couldn't cope if we got horribly upset about every death in the world, and we wouldn't want to not get upset about any deaths either. But it still feels wrong.
poliphilo
Apr. 19th, 2007 10:25 am (UTC)
It's not close to racism, it is racism.

Why aren't we being shown pictures and profiles of the Iraqi dead?

Because Western lives are intrinsically more important to us than Middle Eastern lives.

And we're surprised that they hate us?
pickwick
Apr. 19th, 2007 05:04 pm (UTC)
I know :( I really don't understand how anyone can not see why they - well, some of them - hate us.
gwinniegirl
Apr. 19th, 2007 11:50 am (UTC)
Just an observation...but this post reminds me slightly of some content from a comedy video I've watched. Can't remember the comedian, but he was saying that you initially feel it's a genuine shame when charities show you television images of, say, starving people in Africa, with flies all around them and being forced to drink dirty water. But once they've shown you the same images 10, 20, 30 times (etc...), your sympathy just goes right out the window, and you start shouting at the telly, going "For God's sake! Not again! Flick those flies off yourself, you lazy bastard!".

Now, not that I condone such an attitude myself, but your mention of desensitisation made me remember the video, and see how it might be relevant here. It might have been a Rob Newman video, actually, when his hair was long. I think that the more we see stories or pictures relating to people being killed en masse, wherever it is or under what circumstances, the more guilt we are being coerced into feeling, so the more we choose to block these things out of our minds (or get mad like Rob Newman) so that we feel better ourselves. Sorry, maybe that was a little off topic, but the connection was made somehow in my head. :-)
pickwick
Apr. 19th, 2007 05:07 pm (UTC)
Yes, I always take toilet breaks during those bits of Comic Relief...it's like "Take away the starving people, they're depressing! Give me more funny!" And then I feel bad.

It does make sense in this context, yeah. And yum, Rob Newman with long hair. I may go and look on youtube for some of that, actually.
( 8 comments — Comment )

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