Get a Grip British and International Media

April 28, 2009

Looking at British newspaper headlines courtesy of the Sky News website, you’d think that the world is in the throes of a Swine Flu epidemic as opposed to a pandemic. CNN International has become an All Swine Flu, All the Time channel judging by my periodic viewing here in Nairobi. Al Jazeera English (where in full disclosure I should say that I’ve consulted for recently) is also giving swine flu considerable coverage but at least is placing the story in a global perspective. It devoted its Inside Story, which you can see above, to the issue of whether the media are hyping the coverage. 150 deaths in Mexico is an alarming story. No doubt about that. But seen from here in Nairobi, there is so far a detachment that is understandable given the yearly malaria death toll. There were nearly 900,000 deaths a year worldwide caused by malaria according to the most recent figues from Global Health Reporting. And 8 of 10 of those were African children. So where’s the Breaking News Coverage? Where’s the constant reminder of what needs to be done? In the Nairobi press a small news item today about the Kenyan government preparing to distribute 11 million mosquito treated bed nets. The report notes that 25 million Kenyans are at risk of being attacked by malaria.


7 thoughts on “Get a Grip British and International Media”

  1. Graham Holliday says:

    Here’s what reads a little like a response of sorts on the Sky News Editor’s blog:
    “like ebola in the 90s, the Hong Kong bird flu of 2002, SARS in 2003 and the bird flu scare of 2006 – its consequences could be horrendous.
    Then again, they probably won’t be. Compared to the real killers of the viral and bacterial world – deaths from malaria amount to something like a million a year – the numbers are very small.
    But they might, just might, get bigger. And it’s that possibility, however unlikely, which means that flu will flood your tv screens and web sites like this one for a few days yet.”
    So, that’s OK then…

  2. Graham Holliday says:

    And this on CBS News
    “Three years ago, at the height of the bird flu scare, I wrote an article for WebMD called “Bird Flu Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” It began, “After several years of trying to educate myself in order to answer questions from my anxious patients about nerve gas, anthrax, swine flu, mad cow disease, West Nile virus, SARS, and now bird flu, I find myself thinking wistfully back to 1963 when, as a 10-year-old, all I had to worry about was total nuclear annihilation.”
    Swine flu is the latest in a series of problems that have kept us in a heightened state of alert for years now. This cannot be good for anybody’s sanity. We are wired evolutionarily for brief surges of adrenaline, “fight or flight” responses that temporarily put us in overdrive. But what engine can remain in overdrive for years at a time without becoming seriously fried?”

  3. You made some Good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree.

  4. Thank you for a great post

  5. Very Interesting Blog! Thank You For Thi Blog!

  6. I just sent this post to a bunch of my friends as I agree with most of what you’re saying here and the way you’ve presented it is awesome.

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