Paris, Media Bashing & The Act of Mourning

The recent terror attacks have left a sombre climate across many social media platforms. 

As the majority of the world mourns, suspicion permeates as to why some acts of atrocity, which occurred almost simultaneously as the attacks in Paris, aren't receiving the same collective grief that now cocoons France. 

The mainstream media has suffered as a result, its perceived bias towards Western society, begging the question, is a Parisian life worth more than a Beruiti's in the media's commercial opinion?

This anger towards the media has trickled into negativity and judgement being expressed towards people who have chosen to publicize their support for Paris through hashtag trends and tricolor filters on Facebook profiles. 

There is a ferocity of passion in the communication emanating from the public. Social media allows for people to voice and spread their opinions without needing the platforms of traditional publication. 

The ferocity stemming from the public is likely due to the following...

Firstly, larger sections of society are starting to see the effects that media bias and political manipulation have on the public consciousness. The monocracy of the media the average consumer receives is staggering. The media landscape of the United States of America has never been so consolidated as SIX corporations, namely GE, Disney, News Corp, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS, control a large portion of it in the U.S. This implants a natural distrust towards objective media coverage as a whole without examining the intricacies* of the situation. 

Secondly, human consciousness is streamed to view the world purely from one perspective. We look at situations, events, and interpret what other people say and do, according to our own set of past experiences, culture, faith, values ― all of which help us form beliefs about ourselves, about others, and about the world in general ― thus many people struggle to empathize with the perspectives of others. This leads to misunderstanding, miscommunication and the misconstruing of alternate ideologies. 

And finally, this variance, which is the beautiful diversity that makes our world, does however incur confusion, guilt and anger in times of tragedy and crimes against humanity. The faith we hold in our own belief systems and the righteousness that can overcome can cause us to be petulant and stubborn. Resisting the opinions and perspectives of others. 

Innocent people were killed. That is what matters. That is for us the only thing that should matter. The premature loss of life, is simply the greatest injustice any one can be subject to. As you are reading this there are undoubtedly more innocent people dying. 

There are families in France, Lebanon, Syria, Kenya, Congo (the list is too long to continue) mourning their loved and struggling to believe that this is their reality. 

Personal and political oneupmanship needs to take a backseat in favour of immediate support action and basic human empathy. 

It is unfair to chastise people for mourning one tragedy more vociferously than another. 

We must allow everyone to reflect in their own way upon the manifold tragedies that beset the world, every day. Let everyone mourn as they see fit. Our responsibility is to feel empathy. 

*below reads words from Nick Smith, a cameraman who managed to get footage of the Paris attacks. 

Getting a bit tired of the media bashing, seems to be a common trend. But it's fun for the whole family to do, so here [are] a couple of reasons why some things get covered, and some things do not, from my experience as being someone who gets sent to these places to cover things: 

(1) Availability of moving pictures: Television is not a newspaper, we need moving pictures in order to cover stories, otherwise there is literally nothing to show. If there was nothing to show, people would [us] accuse of making shit up, and reading it on air. 

(2) Proximity to major broadcasters: Yes, there are broadcasters in Lebanon, absolutely. But many networks will send their own people to cover these events, due to, once again, the ability to get pictures easily on the ground. There are a lot more broadcasters based in Paris rather than in Beirut. I know Western correspondents who are based in Beirut who probably wouldn't cover the bombing there, because of reason three; 

(3) Safety: The risks of covering news in areas like Lebanon are astronomically higher. The modus operandi of these groups in these areas is to draw in responders/media to the first explosion, and then detonate a second. During my time in Baghdad, our policy was to absolutely NOT go to explosions for this very reason. It's not worth your life to go and get your own pictures of these things. Security forces in countries like France contain and secure scenes far more efficiently than countries like Lebanon, so it is far safer to actually go to these events. Which brings point four; 

(4) The commonality of the event: The amount of bombings and attacks that kill that many people in a place like France are incredibly rare. In Lebanon, tragically and incredibly sadly, they are not so rare. If we featured every bombing that went on in those areas, we'd be accused of treating it like death-porn. Glorifying death and destruction of people for our ratings. From being on the front line, I've never thought of ratings whilst covering any story, for any network, and I've worked for a lot of them here. Nor have I ever been told to, "film that part there, it'll really sell with the stay at home mums watching at 6:08pm, and they sure like to buy soap!"