Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu: The Media's Last Fearful Hurrah

When it comes to the financial livelihood of Wall Street it's better to not stir the pot, they say; yet when the MSM needs to rile up a good old Andromeda Strain narrative, they sure can whip up fears. And we thought scaring the public was a dastardly thing only George W. Bush would do.

"Containment is no longer a feasible option," is how the New York Times ominously quoted the deputy director of the World Health Organization. It is similar to the maxim attached to Michael Jordan, "you cannot stop him, you can only hope to contain him," isn't it? The analogy at this point would be apt if the dreaded swine flu was indeed a pandemic colored with gruesome details and escalating fatalities, but it is not, as of yet. Then why the constant drumbeat of fear about a harsh strain of Influenza that lacks flesh-eating parasites or blackened corpses and has debilitated one foreign nation disproportionately to to the rest of the planet? Folks, this may be the media's last hurrah when it comes to controlling the populace through fear.

The swine flu is serious stuff. It is not the story of front page hysteria and the facts do not bear the fear running rampant in every ER and doctors office across the land. When the dead bodies of old media lay rotting in the hot sun, this sort of sensationalism designed to control Americans will cease to exist, at least, in its present form. Here are the reasons why the blogosphere would not pursue this story:
  • At this time, the vast majority of the cases have been in Mexico.
  • The death toll is insignificant.
  • There has been little indication that the government would not be able to protect the health of Americans.
  • While the strain can be deadly, the imminent risk of death has not been suffiencently communicated.
Under the rubric and collective thought of bloggers and journalists freed from the grasp of their corporate parents, this story would not register on the front page. In addition, you will begin to notice that most stories, like this one today, are actually articles covering the fear media corporations stoked so cleverly in communities across the country. The future of journalism is healthy, the future of billion dollar media titans is over along with the control they once represented. That's the distinction many fail to see.


MAS1916 said...

Building fear is what our journalistic community is best at. Without research and without a cold appraisal of the facts, our Media have spun this into a major fear-producing calamity.

It may just be that the Obama administration is pushing this, too. What better way to show their leadership skills would there be than in solving a problem that really isn't something out of the ordinary.

And now we have to contend with the Obamaflu - that affliction that prevents voters from carefully analyzing their choices.

For a lighter look at the epidemic, you can hit:

Andrew Bridges said...

A really disturbing trend is parents chosing not to vacinate their children.

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