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home : opinion : opinion/editorial August 20, 2014

4/24/2013 3:15:00 PM
Room for a View From the April 25 Print Edition: Eclipsed
By Peggy Tarr


The other week I briefly watched some coverage of how the war is affecting children and adults in Syria. I emphasize “briefly,” because I found the coverage too stressful to watch.

In response to being asked about their reactions to the dangers they faced every day, children stated (through translators) that everyone had to die some time. This certainly is one way to cope with a life-threatening environment.

It was pointed out that many children now assume the tasks of adults. “Childhood’s End!” It was hard enough to see these humans suffering, but it was harder to listen to the cold, compassionless manner in which they were being interviewed.

I know the rationale for reporters’ being insensitive to the emotional state of those being interviewed is that it is a reporter’s job, but it is really unsettling to see a reporter jam a microphone into the face of someone who has just experienced the loss of a relative, friend, compatriot, home, job or body part – or who has witnessed or been the victim of an assault or other trauma. But making headlines seems to be the name of the game.

It “burns my cookies”  (a friend’s expression of anger) to see how newscasts desensitize the public to disastrous situations by showing footage of the disaster over and over and over again, filling the airwaves with unsubstantiated gobbledygook about the disaster, and asking survivors of disasters how they feel over and over again.

Certainly the public needs to be informed about disasters, but insensitive marathon coverage of disasters eclipses the sensitivity and compassion that, hopefully, is evoked in response to tragedies.

 







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