Wednesday 4 January 2006

How in God's name, did this happen?

This media circus should stop
My sleep was constantly interrupted as the news came from the West Virginia coal mine disaster, the search for 13 lost men changed constantly as the troughs and crests of a roller coaster ride.
There was such a baying for news as the networks analysed, cross-referenced and reported rumour with incomplete information which suggested one man had died, and then there were 12 survivors and just now, only one survivor in a critical condition.
In fact, one really wonders what to believe as the news developed that the mine was unsafe and critical safety issues prevented some from working at certain times.
All the while, hope and despair wrestled with the truth and reality as we were told the survivors who would be brought by the church; ironically, one can say to be buried of course, because someone must have known the whole truth rather than a twelfth of the truth.
Miscommunication unrehearsed
The problem here is, whilst is it dastardly unconscionable and beneath contempt that people’s anxiety was tugged at with devilish mockery, the need to address news conferences and report progress even where there was no information is becoming the bane of our civilisation.
One suggestion indicates that mobile phones helped spread incomplete information as eavesdropping and rumour coupled with the loud shouts of joy from the control centre spread a wildfire fire of terminological inexactitudes (lies).
First is hardly best
The quest to get there first with the news; first from the first witness or non-witness is just not good for our humanity as we viewed this globally.
The first report race means that not enough checks and are made of information received before it is relayed.
It is difficult to say for sure who should take the blame for this kind of media frenzy; from the news producers to the news consumers.
Business as usual
As we mourn the loss of 12 lives, the company may just go on because it is almost impossible to re-skill miners and there is a business to run, life just goes on as our humanity dissolves into the need to be fed by the work of our hands.
Life goes on at the expense of those who have been cheated of the joy of good news because checks and balances were not put in place to crosscheck what had been heard.
“Miracles do happen” as the Governor did say, but sometimes the man-made miracle is not the event itself but the gluttonous hunger and unquenchable thirst of the technology needed to deliver the news.
Beyond this disaster some lawyer is probably already preparing a brief for a class action suit against many that would not include the news networks.
We have not heard the last of this stuff yet and it is only day 4 of 2006.
How in God’s name, did this happen?

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