The Second Eclectic

Technology changes how we relate to God and each other

Following My Words Where They Lead

Yesterday, the U.S. national news included a piece covering a mechanical bus fire. 3 weeks ago this would not have made more than a mention in the hometown's newspaper the next day. In fact, it seems likely that a bus fire would recieve only a mention at the dinner table of passers by.

Nonetheless, this mechanical fire recieved coverage not only in the country where it occurred, but across the pond, here in the U.S.

Had London not met with two terrorist attacks, including public buses, this story would have been little more than a blip anywhere. The bus manufacturer and the London transportation authority would have been the few who would have been really interested.

But, in light of recent events, a mechanical bus fire is somehow newsworthy. If you've read Crichton's State of Fear, you might be reminded of the character who brings meaning to bear on the title. He lays out a theory of how the media has sensationalized news, in part by increasing the use of words like crisis, cataclysmic, catastrophic.

Now perhaps this isn't a case of such blatant sensationalism, but it seems to really take a minor event to extreme measures. Every story that might even hint at a connection to some actually-important event is pounced upon. Unfortunately, for the news consumer, this means having to wade through and weed out all the crap that 24-hour news sources feed us. We're told that we're supposed to emotionally invest ourselves in caring about some concern that we could otherwise live happily oblivious to.

The same goes for the way the media treats war anymore. We lament every death; yesterday that meant touting the passing of 1,800 deaths in the Iraq War--as if that somehow justifies the outrage that all the outspoken U.S. citizens have. Don't get me wrong: I hold every life as precious and recognize that we cannot talk about numbers when we're talking in terms of lives. I mourned for the victims of Columbine and their families. I mourn for those who know someone who's made the Ultimate Sacrifice in Iraq. But, when the media (a gross generalization for those against the war) starts using these soldiers' lives to justify their own opinion (and improve their newsiness), that sickens and saddens me.

Man, I didn't mean to get around to this issue. But, here I am and that's how I see it.