I can't stand the way people refer to unfortunate accidents as 'tragic'. Tragedy, in drama, is a dreadful chain of events brought about by people or situations that contain the seeds of their own destruction. So a tragic situation is one where the terrible denouement was contained in the logic of the situation. A child left orphaned because one parent killed the other and then committed suicide might be legitimately called 'tragic'. But describing as 'tragic' a attack by a wild animal, or a tsunami, or a road accident, is just wrong . It was a terrible event, but it was random, and while it is awful it is not. tragic.
It is perfectly acceptable to use 'tragic' to describe a horrifying or sad event, whether or not it has been foreshadowed by a fatal flaw of some sort. The word has been used legitimately in that way for some time. (Watch Educating Rita!)
Even 'tragedy' does now get used to describe natural disasters and so on. You might not like it but the language is always changing.
I know language changes, or else we'd all still be using an inflected language I just loathe the way 'tragic' has come to mean 'something we can all generally agree is really really bad'. I can see why it gets used in tabloid headlines, as it's shorter than 'horrifying', 'appalling' or similar; perhaps it's the tabloid association that bothers me really. The word seems so cheap somehow as a result.
I agree to an extent regarding its use in tabloids but for me it does have slightly different connotations to 'horrifying' or 'appalling'. To me it suggests something that perhaps could have been prevented reasonably easily whereas the other adjectives don't necessarily have that connotation.
I think, even for me, it's a step too far in pedantry, Manatee!
May I just say here that I object to the meeja overuse of the word "ordeal"? I'm sure that anyone who has suffered anything probably has been through a terrible time - but can they not think of another way to put it? It just switches me off completely when I see the word now.
I disagree with OPs point re use of word tragic however I was BESIDE myself watching The Tour de France when the commentator kept saying "it's a disaster..." when talking about someone falling behind in the cycling race.
I'm on the fence, actually. I don't think it's wrong to use the word 'tragic' for things that are accidental. Language usage does change. But I agree with the OP that overuse of any word sometimes cheapens it and makes it lose power. Like 'amazing'.