Thursday, August 11, 2005

Learning from History: Media spotlights

The idiot box produces a commercial every 10 minutes. With almost the same frequency, "The Media" produces the next "trend".

The latest trend (Aug 2005) seems to be Boy Scout related deaths.

When four scout fathers were killed at the 2005 National Scout Jamboree in Virginia, it made headlines across the country. A bit later at the same Jamboree, two other people suffered heat-related heart attacks in incidents unrelated to the electrocution.

Unusual to be sure, but not "a trend".

Now, almost two weeks after the event, the news has seized on what could be a trend: The Dangers of Boy Scouting.

New York Times: UTAH: LIGHTNING KILLS BOY SCOUT Lightning killed one Boy Scout and injured three others while they slept in a shelter at a mountain scout camp

UPI: Scout camp oak tree falls, kills girl : Man pleads guilty in Girl Scout's death

Now, granted, the media isn't making a case about this (yet?). Scouting is seen as an "All American" pastime (unless you're gay) so there's no real upwelling or backlash going to form soon.

But the uptick in scout-related tragedy reporting can be instructive when the next broughah does get started. These usually revolve around anything that the public can consider to be "scary", such as airline crashes, military plane crashes, gun deaths, drugs, etc.

Given the "special attention" scout deaths can garner, its all to easy to imagine what will happen the next time some random series of more media-friendly tragedies occurs.

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