When a disaster occurs, most people flock to the first television media report that they can get their hands on. There is an unspoken norm among average people, to look at these programs immediately to get up to date on a certain issue.
“Did you watch the news?” someone might say. The first report an average person encounters is bound to be a controlled narrative: the worst possible way to receive info, but most people believe it’s perfectly legitimate.
In this era where people are content to receive their information from the most mainstream, readily available news sources, fear and tragedy is what sells.
It’s difficult to separate nature from nurture and know how much of it is people being attracted to bad news, or the culture influencing people to be attracted to bad news. Either way, recently a Houston flood survivor slapped a CNN reporter in the face with this truth.
— The Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) August 29, 2017
“Let me introduce you to Danielle, here. Danielle, you just arrived,” Rosa Flores, a CNN reporter said to a shaken flood survivor at the Houston Convention Center, standing alongside her young daughter.
The reporter got closer and asked her to tell the story.
Right off the bat, she nails the police for failing to help people in need:
“Some guys had called our phone and asked us where we were. We were waiting for police for, like, 36 hours and they never came. We were waiting at the home. We did the white flags and everything and nobody came. But then somebody had called the phone after we decided to leave the house and we had walked to the gas station with the kids, and then they called and picked up us. But had been there like five days with no food and no lights, and nobody came. Like, nobody came.”
The reporter isn’t interested: she wants a heartbreaking, juicy story to fit into the narrow box of what sells for CNN. She asks the survivor: “Now, you’re with your children. We’ve heard of stories of mothers trying to save their children from the rushing waters. Can you tell us how that was for you?”
“We walked through four feet of water to go get them food on the first day,” Danielle responds. “Yeah, that’s a lot of shit. But you all are sitting here, you all are trying to interview people during their worst times. Like that’s not the smartest thing to do.”
The reporter attempts to apologize, and the survivor continues:
“Like people are really breaking down, and you are all sitting here with cameras and microphones trying to ask us what the fuck is wrong with us.
And you really trying to understand with the microphone still in my face,” she continues as the reporter starts to back away. “With me shivering cold, with my kids wet, and you are still putting a microphone in my face.”
CNN has had this sort of public shame coming for a long time. Any person who is “just doing their job” working for them should think harder about what people are actually dealing with when they try and sneak-exploit them for some views.