Monday, January 03, 2005

Media and the Tsunami

There has been a good deal of criticism of western leaders including Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, suggesting they displayed a slow response to the Asian tsunami crisis. See here and here, for example. George W. Bush was among the slowest to respond, although his insensitivity will surprise no one.

I am not going to comment their behaviour but rather the immediate media response. On the day it happened I did notice that CNN, a critical media outlet for breaking news - around the world, not just in the U.S. - paid little attention to the story, devoting much of its schedule to the usual blather. See the headlines on this segment of CNN, for example, about 12 hours after the earthquake and tsunamis occurred. There are interviews following the headlines about the disaster, but CNN did not deem it worthy of inclusion in its lead headlines.

CBC Newsworld, although it was a statutory holiday here (unlike in the U.S.), did provide live reports and updates as best they could deliver them - mainly phone interviews.

We live in a world where all reality is validated by media. I wonder if any of these leaders might someday admit they were unduly influenced by CNN's slack response?

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