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 TV Bites With Neena Louise

Tsunami Sweeps Good Taste Out to Sea

by Neena Louise

Though the holiday season has passed and the New Year is upon us, it is hard to celebrate in light of the devastating destruction a tsunami wrought in Southeast Asia. There has never been a disaster of such proportions in most of our memories and I believe it has touched all of us in some way. How could it not?

But do we need to see piles of bodies being unceremoniously carted around in trucks and dumped into mass graves (eerily reminiscent of scenes of the Holocaust)? We know over 100,000 people died. We know people are starving. We know people are grieving. We know how they are suffering. Do we really need to see it over and over and over again? Once again, all that does is desensitize us to such images. Television media is almost gleefully gathering exploitative images of devastation and survivors' stories. Do they lust over ratings so much that they think it's ok to use others' grief and loss to get them? These people had so little to begin with and now they have absolutely nothing - and the world's media is using them to garner ratings. It sickens me.

I can't help but be reminded of that horrible day of September 11th. That was a day that touched us all on a very personal level. Over 2,000 people died that day and extensive television coverage went on for weeks. Yet I saw not a single dead body. Not one (which is as it should be). Why, then, do we think it's okay to show footage of thousands of dead bodies from the other side of the world? Were their lives not as important as ours?

This must stop. CNN has already started digitizing images of dead bodies. I'm against digitizing anything and I think they should just not air such images, but at least it's a start. I challenge other networks to do the same.

These people - whose poverty is on a level none of us living here will ever experience - need help. A lot of help. They don't need the world press traipsing around, following them as they struggle to survive the aftermath.  
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