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Media Sensationalism

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  • Pages: 4
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  • Category: Media

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In the year 2009, the swine flu craze hit the world. The spread of this so-called terrible pandemic made people around the world terrified. Most of the offices having low attendance, schools being empty and roads bearing a deserted look. However,the hurricane finally has passed, and today,when we look back and ask,did we overreact?

According to the report from the BBC news: Dealing with the outbreak cost Scotland £55m, but the virus turned out to be relatively mild. This typical example shows us that the Scotland actually overreacted during to the epidemics.

Why is the world becoming more and more blundering and easy to react vehemently to even tiny things?I think the media sensationalism should take most of the responsibility.The increasing panic and anxiety around the globe is largely due to the media sensationalism.

Media sensationalism is defined as the style of reporting news to public which involves use of fear, anger, excitement and thrill undertaken by the media to increase the viewership, ratings and lastly profits.

Media sensationalism can lead the ruin of personal life.The most recent one was a case where the mother was acquitted for the child’s murder by the Court. But media channels already etched her as a murderer in our minds making her life a hell in our society. I don’t think anybody would ever believe her side of story and even though she was found not guilty, papers and news telecasters had already crucified her as a devil in disguise. There is nobody could do anything for her.Her personal life has been completely ruined due to the media sensationalism.

Media sensationalism can strongly mislead people and produce unnecessary panic and economic costs.News reports in the UK, especially during the initial stages of the swine flu outbreak predicted huge death tolls in the UK due to swine flu (see this Metro article Swine flu could kill up to 120 million). This arguably resulted in unnecessary panic about the disease and its potential threat on the population. In reality, in the UK, as of the 30 July 2009, 11,159 people had been affected by swine flu and 30 people had died. When these figures, or indeed the world affected figures (340,000 laboratory confirmed cases worldwide as of 27 September 2009) are compared with other major world diseases such as seasonal flu, malaria, TB or even deaths due to road traffic accidents, the numbers remain (at the time of writing) to be relatively low. This is not to say that swine flu is not a significant health emergency. On the Afghanistan war, the the media reported a lot of factual errors like terrorists attacked an army base and killed several soldiers while the truth was that the militants attacks were not even near the base.These examples all remind people that the trend of the sensationalism in the media is growing.

China, actually is a country with a strict censorship for the media. However, just because of this censorship, people are keener on breaking the unknown news.When the 311 East Japan earthquake led the Japanese nuclear power station breaking down and releasing the nuclear radiation, Chinese medias reacted rapidly.They told the the civilians that they were in severe danger and the radiation would make the seawater undrinkable very soon, as a result, we would lack of salts. This sensationalism made a lot of Chinese people be crazy about buying salts.The supermarket shelves for slats were always empty those days,because of that, many people who indeed needed salts had nowhere to buy it, this produced a mess in the society.In fact,the salt run was ‘totally unfounded.’,people have obviously overreacted to this issue.This is also a very proper example to show the disadvantages of the media sensationalism.

So,how could we deal with this problem?

Firstly, I think, is to be alert to the information you have got from any forms of media.Lately there have been a piece of ridiculous fake news that said China will practice polygamy in the March, 2013. News like this is absolutely made-up. However, what disappoint me was there were couple of my friends forwarded this news and commented very seriously. We should have the basic recognition capability.We should learn to tell what can be the truth and what is definitely impossible.We need this alertness.

The second point is to try your best to find the truth and remind the people around you not falling into the sensationalism traps.Apparently, It is impossible for us to invest everything we have heard by ourselves, so just look into the ones you are interested in and be modest and prudent to the things you don’t know well.

The sensationalism in media produces a lot trouble in our daily life and even make disasters in our community. We should be aware of this stimulation and try to escape from its effects.

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