I will preface this by saying that contrary to my personal opinion, the Swine Flu, or H1N1 Virus, may in fact infect a lot of people and lead to the end of the world. Hey, it could happen. And I don’t want to be the one that everyone points their finger at when we all contract the disease and die.
However, I put the blame for the sudden panic of the world squarely on the shoulders of 24 hour news stations. The CNN’s, the FOX’s, and the hundreds of affiliates and sister channels all over the TV are ablaze with reports of pandemics. And, what’s worse, we live in the age where not only are we exposed to this via television, but the web. Every single major media outlet on the internet is covered with stories on the Swine Flu, and how bad of shape we are all in because of it.
And it gets to us. It makes people panic. It makes people say, “Oh my god, we are all screwed.”
The problem is, this happens all the time. This happened a few years ago with the Bird Flu. And you know what happened after it was all said and done, the so-called pandemic didn’t do nearly as much harm as everyone expected.
Every tragedy and every scare, anywhere in the world, is magnified a million times because of these major media outlets. In my opinion, there is no need for it. It just causes people to panic, when the real goal of news should be to inform without making judgment.
They do it with business news, as anyone who follows stocks can see. They do it with political news, as anyone who is as fed up with the 100 day obligatory judgment of Barack Obama will agree with. They even do it with sports news, endlessly bashing or building up a player or a coach to no end.
Why do they do this? They will tell you that they have a moral obligation to inform. They will tell you that people watch the news to get that information, so why would they get rid of it.
The truth is, 24 hours is too much for news. And deep down, they will have to agree. They need to fill every second with a story. They need to take the stories that are big, and make them even bigger.
Swine Flu is this month’s presidential election. Soon the story will dry up and they’ll find something else to talk about.