Saturday, May 02, 2009
From sharks to swine flu, the media just sucks
Does anyone remember the Summer of the Shark? Back in the summer of 2001, the media had nothing to report on, so it turned a couple of shark attacks into a major news story about how there was some kind of new, bizarre, unexplainable shark attack epidemic that was dooming us all. Nature had turned against us!
Of course, it was really just embarrassing news hype; there were less shark attacks than usual that summer, and there had even been 47 previous attacks that year that got little to no coverage. But a bored media took something and blew it out of all reasonable proportion and made a lot of people look incredibly stupid in the months just before 9/11.
That’s how I feel about all of this swine flu coverage. A few people have a new flu strain and some people (far fewer than the annual number of people under normal circumstances) have died, and it’s suddenly a plague? The world is in flames and the dead are rising from the grave? Welcome to the beginning of another early summer slow news cycle. Quit closing the schools until we know what we’re dealing with. Don't cause a panic until you know what you're panicking about. For now, get some blankets and some vitamin C, and drink plenty of water and wash your hand!