girlie jones (girliejones) wrote,
girlie jones

A different news item

I've been following that shocking story from yesterday about the man who threw his 4 year old daughter off the West Gate Bridge in Victoria. This is a horrible, horrible event.

What fascinated me though is the way it is being reported in the media. Firstly there is the reactive discussion on whether to put up fences and so on. The point really that seems to be being missed in that discussion is that the child did not fall off the bridge in some tragic accident. Her father, a person whose sole job is to protect her welfare pulled over on what must be a very busy stretch of traffic, got out, got her out and then picked her up and threw her off the bridge. I guess it would have to be a very high fence to avoid that happening again? Sometimes random and tragic things happen and the prevention is not in making sure that particular occurrence never happens again but in looking for other, root causes that might need attention.

Secondly, the thing that is actually fascinating me is how parochially it's being reported. Every single media report I heard yesterday had to do with Victorians - Victorians would be deeply affected, are sending their thoughts and prayers, think this and think that. And it made me wonder what the rest of Australia is supposed to think. Do we care less that a child's life has been snatched away in such a heartbreaking way because she didn't live in our state? Do we feel it less? Are we less shocked? Are we supposed to pay less attention to it?

It reminds me of the way increasinly the media has to relate things back to us, as though otherwise we wouldn't care. So the plane that came down over the Hudson River is reported in Australia only in how it affects that young woman from WA who was on it (who incidentally is a friend of a friend of ours). And when there is an earthquake or similar natural disaster, it's reported in terms of how many Australians are or are not expected to be involved. In an increasingly globalised world, do we really need events to be personalised in order for us to react or emote in response to them?
Tags: current affairs, news
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