Sunday, November 2, 2014

Media frenzy, again

Ah, the media loves a sensation - a once rosy political career shot down by lewd behavior, a superstar athlete with steroids in his blood, the diva who is in and out of rehab, the car chase/overturned train/mudslide/worst-winter-in-decades Armageddon story-to-end-all-stories. Viewers tune in. Ratings go up. The execs are happy.
The media spoon feeds the American people sensationalism, and we gobble it up. Office workers spread it at the cafeteria. Soccer moms talk it up while the kids practice. The constant input of bad news and impending disaster weighs us down and pulls our focus away from reality. Away from facts. That's called propaganda.

Here are some facts. There are over 319 million people in the US today. About 1.5 million will have a heart attack or stroke this year and 600,000 will die from heart disease. An average of 20,000 will die from complications of various flus. Over 10,000 will die as a result of drunk driving and another 3000 will die from accidents caused by distracted driving such as texting while driving. Obviously, prevention of these public health threats deserves whatever light the media can shine on them. And the media does a basic job covering those.

Then there are those odd occurrences which seem to capture the media's and the public's imagination.
Like the six or seven people in the US who have been infected with ebola. One has died.

Does ebola need the kind of US media-blitz coverage it is getting? Of course not.
Reminds me of the hype surrounding HIV in the 1980s. Know how many people were infected with HIV just by being near someone with AIDS? None. Thank God for informed adults like the late Princess Diana, shown here shaking hands with an AIDS patient.

Get a grip, America. Stop the frenzy. Turn off the TV/radio/computer/iphone and go for a walk. Live an informed life. Don't let the media propaganda turn you into a quivering mass, unable to see the truth for yourself.

Use your common sense. You'll be fine.

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