The media’s missing principles
A recent example that angered many was the story of the Titan submersible that imploded with the loss of five lives in the north Atlantic ocean. The voyage to view the wreck of the Titanic in a cramped sub dominated the headlines for days as rescuers first attempted to save the men and then launched an operation to recover the bodies.
At the same time around 600 people died off Greece when an oversized fishing boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea. Many women and children were among the dead.
Five dead compared to around 600 lives lost. The difference was outrageously stark.
So, why did the loss of five people in a submersible garner more media attention than the deaths of a vast number in a fishing boat accident?
As a former newspaper and radio journalist I can provide some perspective. The submersible incident was unique because it was not an everyday occurrence. Five moneyed people who reportedly paid upwards of $350,000 each for the trip of a lifetime that ended in tragedy. It’s the sort of stuff Hollywood movie producers clamour for.
Compare that to a mass drowning at sea which, unfortunately, is a scenario played out each week in a different part of the world. As far as the media was concerned, that story was all too familiar. A story for sure but, despite the horrendous toll, not deserving to lead the news for days on end.
Refugees seeking a better life have been leaving their troubled homelands for decades. While many have taken to leaky boats on the world’s oceans to escape poverty, tyranny and injustice, tens of thousands also journey across hostile lands. Just look at the US/Mexico border and the thousands of asylum seekers from Central and South America camped there.
For those with compassion and a moral compass what happened off Greece in June was worthier of far more coverage. That so many died in a single incident was appalling and heart breaking.
Mass media, encompassing television, radio, newspapers and social media will sometimes have a slanted view of the types of stories that deserve more prominence. And their priorities will not always be in line with mainstream thinking.
Justice, decency and what’s right, sadly, are not always part of the mix.
Images: The fishing boat that sank off Greece and the Titan submersible that imploded. Courtesy of OceanGate: Original publication.
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