Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fireworks & Backlashes

Brenda Keck

The media should not function as if they are judge and jury.  But they are. Social media is completely out of control voicing opinions, exaggerations and just down right, outright, blatant lies. Free speech with this level of power is extremely dangerous.

Steve Bartman's life was threatened over a foul ball in a baseball game. This is a life. He is someone's son, possibly a father himself, maybe a husband, a brother, an uncle...who knows. But we are talking about a life over a game.

Steve Bartman declines Cubs fans' offer to attend playoff game
Josh Peter, USA TODAY Sports

"Steve Bartman, the infamous Chicago Cubs fan, has no plans to attend his first game since 2003 because he fears for his safety and worries his presence would create a circus-like atmosphere, his adviser told USA TODAY Sports."
(Photo: Morry Gash, AP)

Due to the overwhelming media coverage of a disputable, "maybe catch-able" foul ball, a long time Cub fan has not stepped foot in Wrigley field since the incident, even though the Cub fans raised the money for him to attend wild card game. He received numerous death threats during this time and although still living in Chicago, keeps a low profile.

The media is so guilty of dramatizing events over and over again, that it gets out of hand. When I read social media, I often find myself second guessing what I am reading. Some things are old and have just resurfaced on Facebook and twitter. Some things are new but I don't know which report to read. I don't know who I should believe.

When social media posters take it upon themselves to circulate false information, people get hurt.

 Social media misidentifies the Boston Marathon bomber as a Brown University student. Facebook and Twitter were flooded with news and photos of Sunil Tripathi.  Sunil went missing the previous month suffering from depression.

As his family frantically searched for their son, he is suddenly a suspect of the bombing.  His family is inundated with phone calls from media.There were angry messages and threats. The family was forced to take down their own Facebook page that was set up to help find him. Doors literally shut in their face as they reached out to the public for assistance in their search.

Boston bombing: How internet detectives got it very wrong
By Dave Lee, Technology reporter, BBC News

                                                                     Sunil Tripathi

"This sub-Reddit has been a disaster that has done more harm than good," wrote Reddit user Darren Grey. "It ended up an epicentre of unstoppable finger-pointing and wild conjecture". 
"And worst of all the mainstream media leapt on the information here like hungry hyenas."

"Unreliable crowd-sourced material plus the media's ravenous desire for fresh information has proved a disgusting mix. Let's never ever do this again."       

Time and time again, people's lives are put in jeopardy over the media coverage. When American people are facing a time of crisis, we have to take the time to be reliable and truthful. This is just another example of how explosive the media is and how lives can be ruined.
  • The media needs to identify the people that the story involves.
  • They need to consider the affect that story will have on each person. 
  • They need to make an ethical and moral decision.
  • And if they make a mistake, they need to quickly and loudly correct it (not delete it). 
The digital age is here to stay. It is the responsibility of the media to take the extra time and do more fact checking. The media has the ability to do so much good yet it backfires so often with stories like these.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you that we have a responsibility to consider how our stories are going to affect people and make our decisions based upon that. It all goes back to harm vs. need to know. Also, about social media--it is what we (users) make it, so we need to lead by example. - Isabella Andersen