August 02, 2007

Anatomy of a Tragedy played out by the American media.

Or, the best and worst of the human condition runs the gamut in a very short timeframe. Help me complete this if I'm missing anything.

Before the Facts Shock
  • This is the news rating period. There are no commercials during the television coverage.
  • You can tune in online with at least audio as it unfolds.
  • There's an intense - almost macabre - interest in learning about the event.
  • Because it's too early to know facts, there's a human interest angle:
    • Survivors' experiences
    • Interviews with "joe citizen" who happened to be there and helped however he could - situational heroes
Numbers Numbers
  • Death toll
  • Injury toll
  • Missing toll
  • Talk about "what we don't know"
  • Updates of these numbers (because they were published very early) for quite some time
Preblame Why why why
  • Speculation on causes
  • Interviews with "experts"
  • Goal is to keep the story alive
Blame and Lawsuits Who who who
  • Fingerpointing by politicians
  • Lawsuits by victims/victims' families
  • Lawsuits by government
  • Accused attack accusers, often personal attacks
  • Whining victims on camera, often blaming the government
  • Firings and "resignations"
Smaller scale tragedies often follow the general path if not the specific steps. The case in point is the death of Josh Hancock earlier this year. The media didn't stop its commercials for coverage, and the government blame angle was weak at best, so steps are missing, but the basic flow of the story in the media - yeah, it's here.

Does this bother you any? I think the outcome is that no matter how valiant the efforts of those who served after the tragedy, what we remember is the blame, lawsuits, and inadequacy. That's what we see last.


Posted by hln at 04:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack