Image from Africanews.com on South Sudan Laugh Festival last week.
The four axioms of media reporting are:
- If it bleeds, it leads.*
- Incidences closer to the viewing audience are far more important than further away.
- The more similar the victims are to the viewing audience, the more likely people will watch
- Commentary should conform to long held beliefs of viewing audience. Fox has conservative commentators and MSNBC has liberal commentators.
A terrorist attack in a shopping mall in Iowa. Hasn’t happened, but if it does, you will have every reporter in the country swarming down to cover the story. And every political candidate will have something to say with tweets and text messages flying around within milliseconds.
A 178 people have die from an epidemic of yellow fever in Angola. Reported last week. It was on BBC, one of my favorite news channels. Relatively unimportant as it is in Africa.
A blend of happy and sad news is nice. Obama dancing the tango is fine. Of course, if you’re Fox News, everything can be Obama’s fault. Instead of dancing the tango, our Chief-in-Commander should be flying to Brussels in Air Force 1 , dressed on combat gear, on the phone to the Brussels’ police demanding two Muslim terrorists are caught right now.
There is a lot of election year theatrics. Interpol exists if you don’t know. Fox plays to its audience- like usual. If Obama did try to be involved, Fox would have come down, full force, that he was grandstanding, totally superficial and an attempt to score points from a tragic event. But both Kerry and Biden went to Belgium. and I’m certain discussions are of a longer term strategy for defeating ISIL fanatics.
Reporting from China or Moscow, what six people on the street think about Donald Trump is not international news.
A lot of things happen in the past week. How many reporters flew to South Sudan to participate in the first Laugh Festival?
From the looks of it, some people were close to dying from laughter. How in the world do you have a laugh festival in a country beset with so many problems? South Sudan is one of the world’s newest country, for 2 years has been in a terrible civil war.
Yes, dear – there are serious events occurring outside of the US – Europe, and the other three “newsworthy” countries Cuba, Canada and Mexico. The Brazilian Congress has started impeachment proceedings against their president, Dilma Rouseff this week and over 3 million people protested against the government in Sao Paulo.
And just last week, South African police launch a graft probe against the President Duduzane Zuma’s son.
Volkswagen and the EPA were supposed to be in court this week to tell the judge if the problems with emissions were fixable. They got a one month extension. I think it’s their second extension.
Last week, we learned scientists believe the Zika virus has been around in Brazil for 2 years. To me that’s frightening.
From the country down under, the Great Barrier Reef is disappearing due to climate change:
But like the news of South Sudan’s festival, there was plenty of positive news, of which 99% goes unreported. The new funding for World Health Organization to combat yellow fever in Africa last week has to be one of them. The agreement signed in Egypt between defense ministers from 27 African and Arab countries, pledging information sharing in combating terrorism is another. Or how women farmers are making a big difference and the great work of the Rainforest Alliance. Terrific news.
I like to watch BBC and Al-Jazeera news. I like One American News, but only for their reporting, not commentary. They keep them separate. I like Bloomberg News. I watch Fareed Zakaria on CNN which is good, except he should let others give “their take” as the lead in to the program.
Perhaps, the media could have reported on South Sudan’s laugh fest as kind of a happy news filler.
- quote from Marshall McCluhen