Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell Disease, Famine, War, and Death

Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell Disease, Famine, War, and Death

Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell Disease, Famine, War, and Death

Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell Disease, Famine, War, and Death

Synopsis

Hailed as "great accomplishment" by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Susan Moeller's Compassion Fatigue warns that the American media threaten our ability to understand the world around us. Why do the media cover the world in the way that they do? Are they simply following the marketplace demand for tabloid-style international news? Or are they creating an audience that has seen too much -- or too little -- to care? Through a series of case studies of the 'Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" -- disease, famine, death and war -- Moeller investigates how newspapers, newsmagazines and television have covered international crises over the last two decades, identifying the ruts into which the media have fallen and revealing why. Throughout, we hear from industry insiders who tell of the chilling effect of the mega-media mergers, the tyranny of the bottomline hunt for profits, and the decline of the American attention span as they struggle to both tell and sell a story. But Moeller is insistent that the media need not, and should not, be run like any other business. The media have a special responsibility to the public, and when they abdicate this responsibility and the public lapses into a compassion fatigue stupor, we become a public at great danger to ourselves.
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