31 January, 2010 — Media Channel
As Media Coverage Fades, Urgent Issues On The Disaster Go Uncovered
UN Takes Over Aid Distribution; Admits Effort Has Been a Failure
Haiti is already fading from the headlines. The desperation of the population in what was called the “rescue” phase of the relief effort is giving way to ‘silver-lining” talk of recovery and rebuilding.
Even as the death count mounts, this apocalyptic disaster no longer has the ability to shock, perhaps because of media overexposure. The media well of compassion—fueled by images of lovable orphans and live extractions of half-dead individuals from the rubble,, is running dry as a ‘been there, done that’ feeling sets in among TV execs who sense that the audience will soon become jaded and turn away.
Perhaps that’s why the story turned quickly from the dead and dying to celebrities telling Larry King how much money they are donating. Perhaps that’s why the plight of sympathetic children took center-stage.
The reporters who have been there are all tired, and in some cases traumatized because of the vast needs they saw. However, most were gentle in chronicling the pathetic delivery of food and water despite the amazing outpouring of sympathy and generosity. Recently a homeless shelter in Baltimore donated $14.64.
Because of the suffering they have shown us, much of it as character-based human interest vignettes, correspondents seemed to have had little airtime for investigating what history might someday indict as an incompetent, if not criminally negligent, aid response.