Our Addiction to Disaster Porn

The black t-shirt and the safari-style button-down - what do these media symbols really mean? I take a look at that question in my new newspaper column out - a newspaper column about disaster porn. Read it here.

I don't know about you, but I simply cannot watch the coverage of the Haiti earthquake anymore, not because the disaster isn't important - but because the news about Haiti is so divorced from the larger issues of poverty and destitution that have plagued Haiti for decades. That's why I call it disaster porn - it's completely exploitative and voyeuristic, rather than contextualized to tell the larger story of the tragedy of Haiti. It's disaster porn stars running around in their disaster chic clothing - t-shirts and safari garb - refusing to tell the real and troubling story of Haiti.

While this has certainly generated a solid and laudable dose of charity contributions, it has missed an opportunity to ask the larger systemic questions the Haiti disaster should have raised.

Mind you, there have been a few news outlets that have provided some of this context. As just one example, read this terrific piece from the Nation magazine. But most of the coverage has been disaster porn - the kind that The Onion so aptly ridicules in its own pages this week.

Read my whole column here for my take on why the media refuse to tell this real story - it has a lot to do with the media's overall refusal to ask uncomfortable and taboo questions.

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