Canadians are More Important

You know what really bugs me? Headlines like:

3 Canadians among victims of tsunami

I think that’s incredibly crass. Tens of thousands of people lost their lives in that disaster. I don’t get why the media has to play up the local angle of a tragedy like that. Doing that makes it sound like some peoples’ lives – the people who live in this particular plot of land – are somehow worth more than all the others, and that’s pretty sick.

9 Replies to “Canadians are More Important”

  1. I agree with this. I often feel the same way. The only thing I think of that could possibly explain it would be if I knew someone who was in the area, and hadn’t heard from them yet. Maybe it’s a way to let me know that maybe they’re not coming home. If I see that there’s three Canadians there, maybe I’m going to be a *little* more prepared for “the phone call.” The thing that makes me wanna lose my lunch is the photo of the “tourists” sitting in their deck chairs while folks are trying to figure out where the majority of their home(s).

  2. This goes through my head every time there is a disaster overseas, whether natural or unnatural — there is never a substantial loss of Canadians, so you would think the Canadian media would come up with a more tactful approach. Maybe at the end of the piece, something like “Please contact the Canadian embassy in ______ for more information regarding Canadian nationals involved in this tragedy.”

  3. People die, it is the way of things. Tens of thousands every day and tens of millions every year. The only way many of us can grasp this is to personalize in some way, so the media reports of the deaths of friends, family or neighbours who have died tragically in the tsunami. Not unreasonable, but it makes the horror something we can relate to in some small way. In the 9/11 incident a few thousand died and we are still talking about it daily. In Rwanda, millions were slaughtered, but most North Americans don’t even know about it. Can you point of Rwanda on a map? I suppose the reason we feel so strongly about the 9/11 incident or the tsunami disaster, is that it happened so suddenly, making us realize how fragile and transient we are on this world. Here now, step off the curb, bus and gone. How can something so powerfully alive like us, suddenly stop? Well it happens every second, so live while you can, because it can end now. Tell those around you how you feel about them, all the time. When was the last time you told those people in your life that you love them? Remember, it could happen now. So do it now.

  4. I feel the exact same way, Toren. What they really mean is: “don’t worry, only 3 white people were killed.”

    Well, that’s a bit of an unfounded overstatement. But such a headline is definitely indicative of a herd mentality to which the media loves to cater.

  5. i especially like the stats on how many americans stubbed their toes whilst pushin buttons that dropped scary bombs on little towns and how many more of ’em got paper cuts authorizing the big bombs away!

  6. National Lampoon’s Sunday Newspaper parody (written almost 30 years ago and reprinted recently) made fun of this style of reporting. The front page had a headline which read something like “2 Locals Missing, Feared Dead in Volcano Explosion” with a tiny subhead reading “Japan Destroyed”.

  7. Well Michael I agree that the media wants us to relate to the tragedy, but I don’t think it’s for unselfish reasons. I think it’s to sell papers, and I don’t think they give us very much credit.

  8. True, generally the media never does anything unselfishly. Then again, rarely do I. Hmmm, have to ponder that, maybe get a self help book out of it. Hmmmm…..

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