Thursday, November 8, 2012
Came home, had a late breakfast and browsed the news pages on the Internet. Over and over, I noticed one thing. Exaggerated headlines.
Dozens killed in earthquake. Thousands in the dark. 8,500 year old murder mystery.
When you read the actual stories, you discover forty-eight people died in the earthquake. All deaths diminish the rest of us. Generalizing numbers somehow makes their deaths less important. To me, using a word like dozens takes away from the loss. Forty-eight. Forty-eight people died in a terrible earthquake.
Thousands in the dark. It doesn't sound nearly as urgent as 715,000 people waiting for power. Thousands...well, that could be any big number--right? And how can you tell if things are getting better unless you have an actual number? Now if tomorrow I read 610,000 people still waiting for power, then I know some people are no longer sitting in the dark and cold. Or maybe it's an accountability issue. What you don't know, you can't protest.
As for the 8,500 year-old murder mystery. A) They have no idea how the people died. B) Therefore, they have no idea whether they died accidentally, or on purpose. C) They have no clue how the people ended up in the bottom of a well. Blah, blah, blah. Sensationalism at its best.
I realize the purpose of a headline is to attract the reader's attention. Perhaps it's just my imagination. But I believe more and more headlines are creeping into the deceitful zone. And it just isn't the print/electronic media. Those little sound bytes on television frequently border on the "But wait! If you buy two..." territory. Often the reporter reminds me of a yapping terrier or poodle, desperate for attention. Is that what we've come to?
Maybe that's why so many people just tune it all out.