Media and mother nature

by Beacon Staff • October 19, 2005

It seems like you can't turn on CNN without hearing about a cataclysmic disaster striking some part of the globe.

In just the last two months, massive meteorological events have taken the lives of tens of thousands across the globe.,"The end of the world is near, or at least it certainly feels like it lately.

It seems like you can't turn on CNN without hearing about a cataclysmic disaster striking some part of the globe.

In just the last two months, massive meteorological events have taken the lives of tens of thousands across the globe. Moreover, last week, massive flooding washed away whole towns in parts of New Hampshire and Western Massachusetts, just like you read about in the Bible.

I'm not saying that I actually believe the end of the world has arrived, but it does seem as though there are more catastrophic disasters happening now than ever before.

After some careful thought and research, I came to realize that this recent rash of disasters could most likely be explained by using everyone's favorite scapegoat-the mass media. As much as the media loves a good celebrity trial or political scandal, nothing moves products quite like mass destruction.

With news being fed into our lives at an unprecedented rate and 24-hour cable news networks in need of constant stories, disasters are prime candidates for extended and in-depth coverage. Unlike a shooting or robbery, a story on a disaster can have as many angles and directions to it as there are victims.

Besides a need for more stories feeding this wave of coverage, we must think about how the very nature of today's media lends itself to showcasing these sorts of events.

When major disasters occurred before the dawn of the information age, it could take days or even weeks for anyone to find out. The recent earthquake in Pakistan and India would not have been nearly as important to the media unless it was immediately accessible to their main audience. Today, the media can send reporters into the most remote disaster areas within hours of learning about a disaster, sometimes even before rescue crews can arrive.

This point was underscored recently when a CNN crew arrived via helicopter to a semi-remote area in Pakistan to report on the destruction. Shortly after arriving, the crew was bombarded by survivors of the quake pleading for help and food.

As it turned out, the news team arrived on the scene even before a proper rescue team.

When journalists become a part of the story they are reporting on it is apparent that the media and their coverage have become a bit too penetrating.

It is clear the end of the world isn't actually at hand. I do not expect Jesus or the Anti-Christ to pop up and start the rapture anytime soon.

The disasters occurring in the world are no more than coincidence enhanced by an unmatched ability to cover them.

If we were a society that still got all its news from papers or from Walter Cronkite on the nightly evening news, we would not be as inundated by these stories as we are today.

So all of those sandwich-board wearing street preachers need not worry about losing their day jobs just yet. God isn't pissed off at us-the media is just making us think He is.

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