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Some common sense about the news cycle - Input Junkie
April 15th, 2013
11:55 pm

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Some common sense about the news cycle
Nick Mamatas explains, with examples that the early reports are likely to include a lot of inaccuracy. Some of it will be honest mistakes, and some of it will probably be motivated by stereotypes.

The thing is, the media wants your attention, and possibly they don't want to seem callous by doing their normal programming.... but the information just isn't there.

I'm speaking to you as someone who freaked after 9/11, and literally spent months reading rasf* newsgroups and listening to NPR. After a while, I realized that NPR was just repeating itself because there wasn't any new news coming in, but I still couldn't pry myself loose. Well, emotions are emotions and depression is depression, but if you can find something else to do instead of hoping for one more crumb of finding out what's going on, I recommend it.

Shira Lipkin passed this on from Colleen Lindsay on Facebook:
There are a lot of folks out there who weren't at the marathon who will nevertheless have their PTSD triggered by the events in Boston today. If you're feeling scared, anxious, depressed or alone, please reach out to someone who loves you, call a friend, or call the Disaster Distress Helpline (1-800-985-5990), which is monitored 24/7. But don't try to tough it out on your own; remember that asking for help is never a sign of weakness.


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From:kalimac
Date:April 16th, 2013 05:24 am (UTC)
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I noted, during the actual day's reporting on 9/11, several hours' considerable confusion, not only over how many planes there were, but which ones went where. It wasn't until much later in the day that even that much was straightened out.

So I have learned to wait a while before drawing any conclusions from the specifics of such events.
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From:asakiyume
Date:April 16th, 2013 12:02 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I remember this too.
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From:marycatelli
Date:April 17th, 2013 12:16 am (UTC)
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Oh, yeah. I remember the plane that went down in Pennsylvania was only one of a whole slew of stories -- until -- hmm, actually, until Jerry Pournelle posted a message from the father-in-law of one victim, about his cell phone call to his wife. The news picked it up slightly thereafter.

But before then, there was nothing to pick it out.
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From:asakiyume
Date:April 16th, 2013 12:02 pm (UTC)
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I can think of plenty of examples without even checking Nick's post, and I absolutely agree, in the most cynical way, with your third sentence. The fact of the media desire for attention, quite independent of any new news, was made indelibly, permanently clear to me during Fukushima. I was able to watch reports alternately whip people up into a frenzy of fear, then reassure them and bring them back down, then whip them back up again, then bring them back down. Like hemlines on skirts, honestly, only with people's fears and anxieties.

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From:ndrosen
Date:April 17th, 2013 04:43 am (UTC)
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Maybe there are some people who really will have PTSD triggered by the events in Boston, and not just people who were injured at the scene, but I'm dubious about pushing "counseling" on everyone, or even on everyone who ever feels the slightest worry about anything. I'm wondering whether you've read Satel's On Nation Under Therapy? (I haven't, just heard about it.) It seems that after a disaster, pshrinks show up, assuming that people are traumatized, and trying to find sufferers to whom to give counseling. Most people cope on their own, and don't need these pshrinks, unless they're required to attend sessions.
From:paulshandy
Date:April 17th, 2013 05:35 am (UTC)
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By the time anyone has enough knowledge for wise discorse, most of the blogosphere will have moved on to another topic of "discussion."
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