Paparazzi Of Tragedy
I wanna start by saying this is an opinion piece. My perspective of what I have noticed. Nothing more, nothing less.
That being said, as far as I was aware the News’ duty is to inform the community of ongoing events, whether local or national. It tells us about the weather, shows us debates between presidential candidates, informs us of the dangers in Aleppo, and about the shootings across the world. But (from my recollections) after the death of Michael Brown in 2014, something changed. Now I can’t be completely accurate on the time, or day, or even if this was the specific event, but from what I have seen, this was the turning point.
That night, a witness chose to raise their phone instead of their voice and filmed the event. They then posted it for the world to see, and that platform allowed it. Allowed the death of a man to stay on the internet. In turn, the media showed that video on the television, where millions of people and children were given the opportunity to watch. And as expected, violence, anger and revenge followed. From an outside perspective, these actions where not justified, but they had the motivation. The media handed it to them on a silver platter.
Following this event, the media took the opportunity to post the next graphic video they got their hands on, the rioting and violence between police and the citizens of Ferguson. And to follow, the fatal shot to a mentally ill Jason Harrison in Dallas, Eric Gardner on Staten Island, John Crawford III in Ohio, Dillon Taylor in Salt Lake City (to note, a white man), Kajieme Powell in St Louis, Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Jerame Reid in New Jersey. And that was just 2014!
To move away from the black lives matters movement, let me point out other footage that the media has displayed. Such as pools of children’s blood after the Taliban massacre of 131 children at the Army Public School in Peshawar, the devastated families of the downed Maylasia flight #370, people running for their lives in the Russia/Urkaine conflict, the suffering victims of Ebola, cell phone footage from the Santa Barbara shooting, dead bodies in Nepal after the earthquake, injured people involved in the mass shooting in Oregon, and stunned children after an air-strike in Aleppo. These videos and images could be found on every news station and media site, from CNN, to NBC, to the Chicago Tribute. And it doesn’t stop there, the media published footage of the truck driving into a crowd in Nice, the bombs exploding in the Istanbul airport, footage during the ambush on officers in Dallas, and photographs of the deceased Russian Ambassador!
Somewhere within the last five years, the media has acted more like the paparazzi of tragedy then the actual news. They have flooded our screens with propaganda, and graphic, violent videos. You can’t turn on the news now without seeing a video or image of someone injured, or dying.
Where is the responsibility behind our media? A journalistic code? I feel as though the principle of “limitation of harm” should fall into play here. Honestly, who needs to see that to know the news, or to feel the weight of what just happened. And it’s not just one person, there are approval channels. So question, how many people approved these videos and photos before it landed on my television screen, or laptop display?
It is a huge fail to me that our news has become what it is.
That they are just grabbing for clicks.
I watched footage a few months ago of the media in Syrian children’s faces for ten minutes. Don’t get me wrong, we need to know whats happening around the world. But it’s no longer photo journalism, it’s as if the photographers approaching the situation with a perverse lens. It’s as if their goal is to now get the most gruesome shot possible to get the news outlets interested. Its like the movie Night Crawler! Which also came out in 2014!
We as a community, and the media as a whole need to be conscious, and realize our actions and decisions are not benefiting human kind, or human nature. It’s not promoting good behavior, in most cases this footage has indirectly resulted in violence. And the media needs to own up to such repercussions. As Meryl Streep said (not the same context) “Violence insights violence”!
Yes! The people that went out and rioted in the name of black lives matters, and those that shot innocent police officers based on their occupation are to blame for those actions. But it calls in to question, if they hadn’t seen dozens of graphic videos of lives being lost, would this have happened? I won’t even mention the studies done in regard to violence and the adolescent brain! Desensitizing our children to such violence can not be healthy! So, how about we start reprimanding the media for their part in this violence?!