I am sick, tired, and revolted by how much attention this debacle has received in the news. In addition to its tenacious and unabated coverage during regular news periods, CNN airs a lengthy segment every night focusing on the tragic, and infrequently heroic, stories of Tsunami victims and survivors. A mother has to choose between children. An elderly tourist clings to a twig. A shopkeeper is buried for 10 days. What’s really disturbing is that most of the stories, at least initially, have revolved around white people–English, Aussie, and American tourists. Oh, and we might hear a bit on trafficking of orphaned children. But then, the nebulous domain of bias news coverage changed over the weeks, as it typically does.
One point of media coverage that has recently been of considerable disgust is the “race” between nations to provide aid. The media wants to know who will be the biggest spender. Why has America been so slow to react? Why the low-balling in monetary aid? Who gives a flying fuck!? Instead, why doesn’t Fox or CNN run a segment about how India, a country of a billion people, can’t even afford to provide the most basic and necessary relief to most of its citizens? Or maybe they could run a story about how they make out Indonesia, one of the largest Muslim countries in the world, to be a place where Americans need to win over the hearts and minds of the people by orchestrating a prompt relief effort. Right, as if we are going to win over any Muslims by dumping money and food on them. That shit only works in America.
In all, the Tsunami itself will end up killing some 200,000 people, give or take ten grand. On the other hand, 200,000 people starve to death in Africa during the course of any given week. Hell, diarrhea will kill more people in Africa in the next month than that giant, god-forsaken waterlog did. Thousands die silently every day and nobody bats a fucking eye. But this Tsunami bullshit has received unremitting coverage since day one. Why the reward in terms of attention? Why doesn’t the media do a short segment on how the whole goddamn region is a poverty stricken clusterfuck of people with different religions, customs, and cultures, who we have virtually nothing in common with, and how poverty, hunger, and homelessness here in America go totally unnoticed?
Now that a massive relief effort has begun, we are being shown shock-value images of the extensive damage. Long lines of people crowd in the street, waiting for food and water. Huge, makeshift shanty towns linger in the heat. Thailand has estimated the cost of the Tsunami to be $510 million dollars. Indonesia claims their 5 year rebuilding costs will equal about 2.5 billion. Altogether, those two figures fall about 30 billion short of the total costs from the four hurricanes that hit Florida last year, and they received little to no coverage of their long lines and relief effort. I do remember a quick flash of Jeb walking around a hospital though. Granted, Florida has lots of concrete buildings that actually cost money to build, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the media needs to shut the fuck up already. Nobody in the western world truly cares, especially Bush, and we might feel a bit bad about not feeling bad about it, but seriously, shut up.