Permit me to step away from Lakeland for a very brief moment. The University of Tampa student public The Minaret, had an editorial I think is appropriate to quote in light of my post about media coverage:
Heath Ledger died this week; so did roughly 100,000 malnourished children in low and middle-income countries.
Ledger’s speculated suicide has already received widespread coverage through the international media conglomerates. As for the children, dead without the privilege of being able to choose suicide, little is spoken or written.
If the 100,000 dead children, a conservative estimate according to the World Health Organization and the United Nations, collectively gained as much press coverage as Heath Ledger, then it would be fair to say that the media considered each child’s life to be worth 1/100,000th of Heath Ledger’s.
But such a comparison cannot be made. Though exact statistics are not yet available, it seems as though Ledger’s death will receive at least 100,000 times more coverage than the 100,000 children combined. Less than twelve hours after his death, a Facebook group dedicated to his memory already boasted over 4,000 members. Of the malnourished that died the same week as Ledger, nobody cares.
Though we at The Minaret comprise only an infinitesimally small part of the international media, we still find it soothing to turn the tables. The Minaret would like to publicly proclaim that we could not care less about the death of Heath Ledger. We have no opinions, thoughts or eulogies concerning Ledger’s life; frankly, we don’t give a damn whether he lived or died.
Of course, the extremely unbalanced discursive arena that The Minaret faces in the deluge of macro-scale media makes it necessary that we cover Heath Ledger’s death in order to proclaim it unworthy of coverage. We are aware of the trade off, and have decided that making the point is well worth the cost.
The Minaret continues as they compare the coverage of Anna Nicole Smith and Kurt Vonnegut. Could these potential main stream media journalists be the instruments of change?