Ok, let’s hope the swine ‘flu doesn’t become a pandemic slaughtering millions, but I bet the news hopes it does, they are beside themselves to inject as much drama and hype into this as possible. Even if the 160 or so deaths in Mexico are as a direct result of ‘flu, it is 160 in a population of 100 000 000. As tragic as each death is on a personal level, statistically you have more chance of winning the lottery this weekend than dying from the ‘flu.
The news, however, wants to engender a state of panic, with their “what if” scenarios and even at this stage the news readers are at a level of hype completely out of proportion to the facts. What happens if this does become more serious? Where do the news readers go from the level of doom they already occupy? Kate Silverton tearing her hair out in clumps live on the 6 0’clock news or some poor reporter blowing his own brains out on a live feed into the studio because it’s all got a bit too much?
Reported on the news today was the number of suspected deaths related to polution levels in London; a few thousand in one year, reported matter-of-factly, no panic, hype or insanity. You do the maths. News should not be about “what ifs” or as Charlie Brooker pointed out, about opinion. It should report facts.
More people die each year putting their socks on in the morning than have so far died from ‘flu, which is why I am typing this barefoot…It’s just too dangerous to even contemplate pulling on a pair.