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October 15 2005

Disaster updates

It amazes me how little coverage some of the other global disasters are getting as of late. You can’t turn on the TV without hearing about the POSSIBLE (and I mean to stress that) pandemic of the Asian Bird Flu, but you are hearing so little, in comparisson, about the death toll from the earthquake in Pakistan and the floods in Gautemala.

Don’t get me wrong, the Asian Bird Flu could be horrific, but that is not an immediate problem. There are people suffering in Pakistan right now because there isn’t enough relief getting to them. There are more people reported missing each day in Gautemala. There are still people homeless due to Hurricane Katrina. But let’s spend lots of resources, meaning journalistic resources, on a possible story that may or may not happen. (I know you were all wondering where this was going, yes, it is yet another rant against journalists.)

This is just another example of a story having to be “sexy” to get any coverage here. New Orleans is no longer sexy. The city is dry, it’s cleaning up, people are moving back in and in a couple months we will get an update story about how the city recovered. The Pakistan earthquake is hardly getting any mention due to no good video to go along with it. Gautemala, well, I doubt it would even be covered if Survivor wasn’t currently taking place there. (I kid you not on that)

But Avian Bird Flu…oh very sexy. It has an exotic name. It has lots of images to go along with it like men in hazmat suits moving birds around on a farm for testing and close images of the virus. They can stroll out dozens upon dozens of ‘experts’ on the coming menace and it is easy to rotate them amongst the networks.

Meanwhile, 38,000 are dead in Pakistan while another 62,000 are injured. The death toll is expected to rise in the coming days due to a lack of tents and dropping tempartures. The higher altitude villages, that have not yet been reached with aid, will have many more deaths before anyone ever gets to them.

Let’s see that footage of the guys carrying around birds by their feet again for testing, can’t get enough of that.



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General Rants Journalism