From: Grant Callaghan (email@example.com)
Date: Sat 26 Oct 2002 - 13:57:31 GMT
>I agree that humans are predisposed towards the macabre and spectacular and
>that news media exploits this unmercifully. But surely those that like to
>quote "common good" rationales (politicians et al) should be the first to
>realise that the media reports are producing an effect of their own which
>may be far more damaging than the original event. I think we need an
>awareness level, and a to establish an understanding of the balance between
>reporting news, and dwelling unnecessarily on the suffering and misery
>which can only further the objectives of the terrorists. True, the "blame"
>is with the perpetrators, and maybe we should be spending some time trying
>to understand what motivates them to do such things and address those
>issues as well.
>The brief discussion we have had on this issue has brought me some clarity
>of thought. Thank you.
I think you have to keep in mind the fact that newspapers and TV news are not in business to do what's good for their readers but to make money by doing what boosts sales of their product. Blood, gore and fear sell better than Martha Stewart. Stories are written in the face of competition from other news agencies. The company that loses readers soon goes out of business and that makes having what the public wants when they want it (now) the overriding issue when editors sit down to discuss what will go into the newspaper or TV news program each day.
When you look at the number of news media that have gone out of business
already, it's enough to strike fear into the heart of any editor or
publisher. There is a Darwinian process taking place that keeps them
looking for the product that will sell rather than what will benefit society
as a whole. So the wringing of hands over how the press helps the
terrorists seems a waste of time. The number of bodies left on the floor in
the publishing business is just as great as the number left on the floor in
Bali. The people involved are doing what they think they have to, after
years of competition to teach them, to hang on to their jobs. That's not
likely to change no matter how much hand wringing we do.
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