Saturday night as I turned on the TV, MSNBC came on with breaking news about the London Bridge incident. I watched for a few minutes and then went to watch The Big Bang Theory. I figured I’d gotten the gist of it and more would just tramatize me. (More)
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Yesterday on NPR Michelle Norris had Indira Lakshmanan of the Poynter Institute on to talk about the media coverage of terrorism. She made some excellent points. Her paper, written after Manchester and before London, is titled: “The endless loop of terror victims: Lazy journalism that lets ISIS run the newsroom.” It was enlightening. Putting the 22 Manchester victims in context was this:
If the death toll were the issue, we would have heard more about the recent mudslides in Colombia that killed more than 200 people or the 1,683 Americans who die on average every day from heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Just as troubling: Does flooding the public with images of terrified innocents further the malevolent agenda of those who seek to foment fear and hate in civilized society, by terrorizing those watching at home? A number of observers raised this point today, pleading with media to dial back the endless loop.
There is a bar graph with the total number of homicides and the number of deaths due to terrorism. Next to it is another graph comparing the media coverage of the two. I’d attempt to guess because actual numbers aren’t on the graph but it’s better that you click the link and see for yourself.
The last part of the article is guidelines for media for better coverage:
Don’t adopt the lexicon or claims of terrorists. Is terrorism truly a “threat” to our democracy, or is it an isolated “risk” to lives? Yes, dedicating policy attention and resources to preventing and fighting terrorism is essential, but the truth is Americans are statistically more likely to die in an auto accident or by lightning strike than in a terrorist attack, so the risk shouldn’t be overblown.
Don’t accept propagandists’ claims without multiple sources and evidence. Terrorism reporter Rukmini Callimachi of the New York Times urged caution today in a string of tweets explaining how different arms of ISIS may not be in sync.
Reconsider referring to terrorists as “claiming responsibility.” Aren’t they “admitting guilt?”
Deprive terrorists of what they want – the spotlight – and embrace the victims and their families, argues information technologist Zeynep Tufecki.
Show the effects of terrorism without showing the gore. An example are photographs that show victims’ personal effects rather than body parts – shoes, stuffed animals, flowers placed to commemorate the victims.
My guidelines for my news consumption. Turn the channel. Endless coverage on the media’s part doesn’t mean that I have to be the endless viewer.
Credit: Adobe Stock Images. Standard License.