The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


What does Fox News’ mistake say about media?

Fox News really screwed up this week. And no, this isn’t a liberal rant.

On Friday, Fox accidentally showed a man take his life after an almost two hour high-speed chase in Arizona.

Shepard Smith, the anchor who was commenting on the chase, profusely apologized saying, “We really messed up, and we’re all really sorry.” He continued to say, “That didn’t belong on TV… and I personally apologize to you that it happened… it is just wrong.”

I was watching the chase with my grandparents in their hotel room shortly after they arrived into Dallas for Family Weekend, and they were a bit disturbed. However, the scene didn’t affect the mood for our day.

I began to wonder, why are we so sensitive to seeing these things on television? We read about them in the news all the time. Many of us have experienced the grief that follows a friend who commits suicide. People kill themselves. This is not breaking news.

In Europe, the news channels and papers show much more gruesome images of war, death and an individual’s physical struggle than news channels in the United States. Does this make the European people heartless?

No, I argue, it makes us sheltered.

It disturbs me that Fox has to issue such an intense apology for showing a real life situation, especially when every news source has no problem exploiting the details of a tragedy.
When we only read about a gruesome or tragic event, we still receive the message that a video or photo would portray. However, the difference seems to be that the picture of the event makes it more real to us. I suppose we feel like if we just read about it, then an event doesn’t have to be real, it can just be words on a page. But maybe we need it to be real.

Since we’re incredibly sheltered from seeing these arguably sickening images, I think we’re a bit soft. I also think just reading about an event doesn’t give us the ability to sympathize or be motivated to act.

Perhaps if we saw images from the war in Iraq we would be more inspired to somehow end it (most preferably peacefully). Maybe if we saw what people look like after being a victim of a hate crime, we would speak out against them more so than we do now.

Text rarely moves us like pictures and video. As forward as this may be, I think we’re sheltering ourselves from the prospect of taking action and changing the world around us.

I really didn’t care about the temporarily displaced until I met many of them on the streets in Los Angeles, Houston, New York and Nashville, Tenn. I would have never donated time to Empower African Children had I not seen the immense pictures of joy in children’s faces because they were receiving an education that could empower them to change their own communities.

I know it would be hard, but we often need to see these images to care, and we need to care. We all have the power to make a difference through advocacy of any kind, and it is our responsibility as worldly people to make these changes.

Those changes occur through action, but begin with seeing and understanding.

Graves is a junior majoring in communication studies. 

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