26 December 2004
Time to Update the Body Count Conversion Rate
Apparently, "500 drowned Bengladeshis" don't warrant the same coverage as "1 snipered American" anymore. Tsunamis from the strongest earthquake in 40 years have killed over 11,000 people in southeast Asia and what's the coverage on cable news? I just turned on CNN to see a brief blurb about it used for a cheerful lead-in for some crap about a duck getting frozen to a pond. (Paraphrase of the AnchorBot2000, said with a broad smile: "in [don't remember the place], a different kind of disaster was averted when rescuers freed a duck from a frozen pond.") CNN Sunday had a respectable amount of coverage (the first 15 minutes of a one hour show), but they spent almost half of it on one American quasi-celebrity (they claim Nick Berkus is kinda-sorta famous, but I had never heard the name before) vacationing in Sri Lanka. As you might figure, FAUX News spent about two minutes on the tsunami before moving on to something they consider more important. (It's Sunday, so CNBC is infomercials and MSNBC is news-free.) Suggested new ratio: 1 stranded American quasi-celebrity = 3 drowned American tourists = 22 drowned Japanese tourists = 11,000 drowned residents of southeast Asia.