Friday, May 1, 2009
I've been poking around a bit on the internet now that I'm back in civilization and it seems like the Swine Flu epidemic might be on the downslope, not clinically, but of its media-hype life-span that is. I'm wondering if the real story to come out of all this might acually be about the media itself and how it picks and focuses on a story. The acutal influenza outbreak might turn out to be a small blip in the history of influenza, but its overhyped media explosion and feardemic could be a watershed moment. Sara might not like this but I would reccommend that anyone interested read the Wikipedia entry for 2009 swine influenza outbreak. The entry has improved greatly in the few days since I've read it last and its the one place where I've been able to find complete and precise information about the topic. And, the last section of the entry is in regards to media response and bias, and distortion. So the upshot is that the effects seem to be very mild now in the states, very much like a normal flu outbreak. The reason is had such a high motality in Mexico is being debated. Thousands and thousands of people die every year in the US due to influenza and its no news story at all. This outbreak has so far only killed one person, and already its the top story for a week. Something doesn't seem right. I'm wondering if this is not further evidence that media and news is something that should be consumed like a vegetable, the more local the better. Any "news" that does not directly discuss something happening in your immediate community is probably just a distraction, and a stressful one at that. If I tune out of national/international instant news and analysis what will I do with all my time?? What will I read in the airport? Books maybe?