THE BLOG

Blame Canada

03/20/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Tragedy: a lamentable, dreadful, or fatal event or affair; calamity; disaster: the tragedy of war.

For my own purposes I will list three ongoing events in countries that would qualify for being described as a tragedy, and they are:

1. Haiti
2. Iraq
3. Afghanistan


Most certainly if one wanted to "keep score" of natural disasters, Haiti would be among the leader on the list of "world disaster victims."

Haiti suffers from a killer combination of geography and history. It is the victim of extreme poverty; illiteracy and unstable or corrupt governments. Over the years, it has turned its forests into firewood, built flimsy concrete block homes even while sitting in one of the world's deepest earthquake fault-lines. It has always existed on the verge of catastrophe, and last week catastrophe struck.

Now I will take the liberty of trying to demean the mass media of our country because in my view they have co-mingled the reporting of news with what I will call "wall-to-wall inexpensive sensational programming", but they call it "news."

The broadcast and cable news networks sent their "news anchors" into Haiti to report on a catastrophe which they have turned into an endless depiction of devastation featuring pictures of corpses rotting in the streets and wreckage of a seemingly damned city. Surely the event is an ongoing disaster, but for the most part, there is nothing new in the coverage. It stopped being "news" a long time ago.

Maybe the networks believe that viewers want "wall to wall" disaster coverage, and perhaps they are right, for now. But, in a week or so the fickle public will tire of the "tragedy", most of the "journalists will go home, the coverage will be superficial, and the homeless will continue to be homeless, the hungry will continue to be hungry, many of the injured and missing will die while Diane Sawyer, Brian Williams and Katie Couric will return home to report on the latest Hollywood scandal or the most recently missing child.

It seems to me that the worldwide media coverage of the earthquake in Haiti has been far greater than it has been to our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are still at war in those two countries and as far as television news is concerned, the wars were and are largely being played out in secret. I remain annoyed at the media for never making us aware of the false circumstances by which we were led into these wars, but there is no excuse for them not covering them now.

Tens or hundreds of thousands of Haitians have been killed, wounded, or left homeless by the quake. But our military has killed and wounded tens or hundreds of thousands of Afghans and Iraqis, and so far as homeless goes, it has been reported that up to five million Iraqis fled their country during this horrid war.

Moving along.

I have always loved the song from South Park "Blame Canada."

This really has little to do with the subject at hand, but what the hell.

This is a verse:

NO! Blame Canada, Blame Canada

It seems that everything's gone wrong,

since Canada came along

Blame Canada, Blame Canada

We need to form as full assault, it's Canada's fault

My version of the same verse:

NO! Blame the media, Blame the media

It seems that everything's gone wrong,

since the media came along

Blame the media, Blame the media

We need to form as full assault; it's the entire medias fault

Coverage of the Haiti disaster is ubiquitous.

War coverage in Iraq and Afghanistan is scarcely mentioned.

How sad