We Get The Media We Deserve.
If you feel outraged, as you should, that tragedies in Paris get media attention while those in Beirut, Lebanon and Garissa, Kenya do not, consider whether you choose to actively inform yourselves about those parts of the world when people aren’t dying in tragic terrorist attacks.
My guess is that everyone reading this can point to Paris on a blank map, and couldn’t do the same for Beirut or Garissa (whose massacre occurred in April, by the way). Heck, many of the people complaining about the coverage disparities are posting about “Paris, Beirut, and Kenya” because they’re forgetting Beirut is a city and Kenya is a country. Check out their statuses and think about that.
The sad fact is, media in the U.S. is a commercial industry that ultimately pays attention to the topics its consumers demand. If a cover story of the Paris attacks sells out but a similar one about bombings in Beirut does not, you’ll see less coverage on the latter than the former in the future. (That goes for Facebook’s choice of avatar image generators too. They’re aware of what people are posting about, don’t you think? They track everything. It’s the foundation of their business model.)
Maybe after this viral meme about attention disparity people will suddenly get interested in news about places they haven’t personally visited or where they don’t have friends or family. My guess is in large part the answer will be no.
We get the media we deserve. And based on the media we have, we apparently don’t deserve very much.