When the media blows everything out of proportion

The article The Toppling, written by Peter Maass, tells how one small event in Iraq – the toppling over of a statue of Saddam Hussein – became a huge deal, thanks to the large amount of press on the scene. The media managed to inflate something of little significance, a “minor moment in a long war.” Using this article as my inspiration, I decided to take a different approach to my blog post this week. Here are some other events that I think the media went overboard on.

Up first, the media tends to explode when famous people die… especially those a-list celebrities. Take Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, or Michael Jackson, for example. They kick the bucket and all of a sudden articles highlighting their life, greatest accomplishments, best and worst-dressed moments, and controversial death are posted everywhere.

The media also tends to go crazy when they decide the rest of us are all about to die. I’m not just talking about 2012 and other end-of-the-world related stunts. Let’s not forget about all of those bad crops of deadly fruit like tomatoes and cantaloupe. There are also the serial killer diseases such as H1N1 and West Nile Virus. Good times. Somehow a humongous majority of us made it. Also, heads up: cell phones give you cancer.

Sometimes happy events make the big time, too. The royal wedding, for example, received non-stop press coverage that Disney-esque magical weekend.

I don’t know who decides which events get the most press coverage. Sometimes, like with the Hussein statue, it seems more coincidental. Other times, they may just decide it is a story of signifigance that seemingly deserves all of the screen time and print space. Whatever the case, media blow-ups happen incredibly often, and I think it’s important to step back and take note of how important that event really is.



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