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Media talks panic: Swine Flu

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Over my morning cup of coffee, I turned on the TV to see what was going on in the world. The big news of the day – and apparently the only story of the day – was the swine flu. Even CNBC asked, “Will Swine flu derail the global economy?” The Swine Flu story leads the Washington Post and the Financial Times.

So, what happened in the markets? A drop. Nothing like a good panic to cause a sell off!

Reporters even non-stop peppered Robert Gibbs at the morning’s White House Press Briefing, asking if Pres. Obama was sick, and complaining that they weren’t getting enough information on the President’s health. A simple “the docs say he’s healthy and fine” wasn’t good enough. The flu became the only topic discussed.

The U.S has a population of over 300 million people. 40 cases of flu have been reported. Yet, one would think from the media hype that thousands of cases have been reported in the U.S.

Pardon me, but I’m getting just a bit sick of the “one topic” media story. Especially the non-stop, endlessly detailed reporting of stories such as this one which appears designed to cause as much panic as possible.

Yes, there is cause for concern and caution. But really now, fostering a panic? The media definitely has lost its way. The job of the media is to report the news, not create the news…which is exactly what the media has been doing for the last couple of years.

What would Cronkite or Brinkley say about the over-hyping of one story, the endless reporting of every minute or associated detail, as if that one story was the absolute only thing occurring on the planet?

Enough already.

Written by Valerie Curl

April 28, 2009 at 12:55 AM

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