It seems to me that the media coverage of the Boston Marathon is doing more to spread fear and terror than the actual attack. The less information the media has about something, the more intensive the coverage is. Is there an informational reason to show explosions over and over again? Is there any civic purpose to showing shot after shot of blood-spattered streets?
This is where entertainment and information overlap, and the result is the kind of orgy of disaster porn we saw last night. I’m not an overly-protective parent, but I won’t turn on network stations right now, because I don’t want my children seeing so many gratuitous images of mayhem and violence.
This matters. It should matter to all of us concerned about SO issues, because the reason SOs and their families are treated the way they are is because of the hysteria the media stirred up in the wake of a couple of high-profile child murder cases (all of which were perpetrated by people who didn’t simply have a history of sex crimes, but of violent crimes).
In so many cases, the media covers tragedies more when we know less. By the time we get solid information, their attention has turned elsewhere. This does nothing to create a more educated populace and much to spread misinformation and panic.
Our media has become an outrage machine: it seems to exist primarily to make people feel scared and angry, rather than to provide information we need to be more informed citizens. As media consumers, we should reject that. We should protest the media using the tragedies that befall our neighbors to stir up outrage and hysteria.
My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Boston, those injured and killed and their families, and the many emergency and medical workers who are doing such a great job caring for people.