Hurricanes and the media: when does it cross the line?
Does it ever cross your mind that the news can be so invasive that it is causing more harm than good?
The hurricanes that we are experiencing right now are making history. Hurricane Harvey has accumulated over 180 billion in damage, bringing it right up there with hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Irma is currently still causing damage to Florida and the near by states, also causing billions in damage.
These storms have been featured in the news 24/7 since they began over a week ago. But it might be time to question how helpful the constant news reporting is.
The news focuses mainly on the big cities that are being hit, but what about the little guys? With the death toll continuing to rise, big news outlets need to make sure they are reporting on places that are still in need of desperate help, and spreading the word to people on how they can make a difference. We need to focus on how to help, not just how to increase ratings and viewership.
Yesterday, the social media director for the White House, Dan Scavino, tweeted a video from Miami international Airport, only to be corrected by the airport itself that the video was not from MIA. Maybe the coverage of the storms is going to far, and we need to be focusing more on broadcasting ways to help the towns and victims. This is not the time for the news to be making mistakes, especially when it is coming from the white house.
A video that went viral last week of a woman and her children being interviewed is showing how the news is crossing the line. A CNN reporter was questioning a mother and her children as they entered a rescue shelter after being stranded for 5 days. The women starts to get angry with the reporter because she and her kids are still wet from the flood and in need of help, not camera time. This is only one circumstance where the news was trying to hard to gain viewers and ratings rather than providing as much help as possible to the victims.
With all of this in mind, we need to remember the reason the news is coverage this crisis—Because these victims need our help. It is up to us to do our proper research on how to help and who needs it most. The news covers what it thinks will be the most entertaining to the public, which is not always what the public should be hearing. This is a lesson of prioritizing what is right, helping the helpless, or entertaining the audience. Historical natural disasters should not be used as a form of entertainment, but instead used to educate the public.
There are many ways you can help these communities, including donating to renowned disaster relief organizations like the American Red Cross. Click here for a full list of approved charities and businesses.