war and disaster are heavily sanitized in North American news. The public has
become used to seeing symbols of death, not actual death. It’s a situation that
leaves editors and producers grappling with horror versus
taste as images from Haiti tumble in.
reality is important, but no one wants to stand accused of disaster porn –
using bodies to sell products. This is the charge laid against recent network
promos that highlight “reporter
heroes” saving Haitian lives.
The op ed
Television/Bad Journalism” calls for less drama, more context. How are we
doing? Hurricane Katrina author Rebecca Solnit flinches at continued use
of the word “looting” in reports from Haiti, while Christie Blatchford marvels
fickle attention span. In the weeks to come, we can only hope that ‘the show’
will turn into tough, in-depth journalism that asks hard questions, rather than
simply turning its gaze to find fresh heroes and victims elsewhere.
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