The Plastic Hippo

August 27, 2015


Filed under: Media,Society,World — theplastichippo @ 2:15 am
Tags: , , ,

It is sickening to realise that we have evolved into a species that finds it acceptable to exploit violent death for profit. Newspaper proprietors and television news executives are happy to display the final moment of a taken life to boost circulation and viewing figures and in so doing, make money. Rather than expressing disgust, we buy the papers and watch the broadcasts. It seems that we are sitting in a global coliseum being entertained by wild animals tearing slaves apart proving that Darwin might need to fine-tune his theory of evolution.

What is disturbing about the terrible events in Moneta Virginia is that shootings are taking place in towns and cities across the United States on an almost daily basis. These murders are reported but not with the voracity and feeding frenzy that has dominated the media during the last day. With cameras present, Alison Parker and Adam Ward were not just being murdered on live television but the world was later invited to witness their final breaths. If you are happy with that, then I am not. Imagine being the parent, family or friend of the victim walking past a news stand in any major city on the planet – imagine switching on the television – imagine that you had not yet received the dreadful news. Even respectable media outlets aired the footage but pressed pause just before the first bullet entered. Journalists are often accused of being intrusive, undignified and disrespectful but the media has turned upon two of its own for the sake of sensationalism and so exhibited an astonishing lack of respect.

News needs to be reported and the freedom of the press is vital but when investigation becomes warped voyeurism, it really is time to question editorial decisions. Images of famine, disease, war, brutality and the myriad other miseries that the human race inflicts on itself need to be seen to inform us of just how stupid we are. In Hungary, refugees fleeing the horrors of Syria were tear-gassed and 50 desperate people were found dead in the hold of a leaking boat off the coast of Libya. There was no front page for them.

Back in the global coliseum, we can now film the lions and the tigers ripping people apart with our hand-held devices and social media made the most of the spectacle. Within hours the murders were online and the feeding frenzy continued. “OMG this is just so sad and awful – click on the link to have a look.”

By late evening, social media attacked old media for their front pages. “OMG this is disgusting. How can (insert name of proprietor here) publish this? Click on the link to have a look.”
Erm…hello? Is it just me that sees a problem with this?

In an age when technology allows images of beheadings, crashes, a massacre on a Tunisian beach and vintage aircraft falling out of the sky to incinerate cars on a busy road to circle the world in seconds, a little more restraint and respect for the dead would be appreciated. You have to wonder what kind of person in possession of mobile footage of actual deaths would require a name-check (and a cheque) from mainstream broadcast news.

Alison Parker and Adam Ward were two young people doing their work and were killed by a disturbed individual armed with gun and that is America`s problem. After a series of mass killings undertaken by other disturbed individuals armed with guns nothing has been done regarding gun control. After Columbine, Tucson, Sandy Hook and so many more atrocities that are not considered as terrorist activity, American legislators consider the political opinions of the NRA and the rest of the gun lobby as more influential than the need to protect children from being slaughtered. Perhaps the creationists who buy their assault rifles from Wal-Mart are correct in stating that Darwin got the whole thing completely wrong.

All around the world, too many people die accidentally or murdered, bombed, starved and beheaded. Please do not remember them by publishing images of their deaths. Remember them as fellow human beings. Try this instead…



1 Comment »

  1. To slightly misquote Evelyn Waugh, ‘technology annihilates decency’.

    Comment by The Realist — August 28, 2015 @ 9:56 am | Reply

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