Nothing new, but as Paul Currion remarks, the Haïti post-earthquake crisis shows once again that media and governments alike are still operating under the rule of sensationalism :
“Nobody can deny that Haiti needs assistance right now to save lives, but it also needed assistance yesterday when the infant mortality rate was the 37th lowest in the world. When it comes to natural disasters, we – our governments, our media, ourselves – are victims of the same biases that cause impulse buying at the supermarket. Thousands of people dying from buildings falling on them instantly mobilises a huge amount of resources, but thousands of children dying from easily preventable diseases is just background noise. This is the uncomfortable reality of the aid world, but it’s not one that our media or governments really wants to hear”.
But is it possible, in a noisy media environment, to find success in promoting the long view of human capability instead of a short term view of human suffering ? Some examples do exist, but forming, out of the background noise, a coherent signal that has political impact remains a rarely solved problem.