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ITN news - coverage of Chinese earthquake - gratuitous and insensitive?

19 replies

glasjam · 19/05/2008 23:59

Just wondered if any of you thought that tonight's "coverage" of the earthquake had sunk to an all-time low. I know there has been comment on the insensitivity of the media coverage elsewhere but I thought tonight's was particularly awful.

In case you didn't see it - they had basically got their sweaty paws on someone's home video footage taken at the time of the earthquake in a town near its epicentre - it went on for ages as it showed the aftermath too. Basically we were treated to the sight of shell-shocked people, covered in dust, cowering from the aftershocks etc. It then continued with shots of collapsed buildings, wailing parents searching for their children in a collapsed primary school, people being dragged out of buildings "...this woman has lost her foot.." was one of the choice commentaries. Coming a whole week after the event and the fact that it just went on and on and on... traumatised, bloodied, grieving people... I got so angry I had to turn over.

Surely this isn't news? It was just a case of ITN having got hold of some exclusive material and broadcasting it as an act of media one-upmanship. I hate it when pictures dictate the news rather than the story. If it had revealed something new or significant then maybe you can justify it but it patently did not.

Anyone else have any thoughts on it?

OP posts:
avenanap · 20/05/2008 00:04

It made me want to cry. We've seen the aftermath, we know about all the people who are dead/dying/trapped and feel helpless. I think they went to far showing this. There's a big chinese community in the UK, they didn't deserve to see their families/community this way.

Callisto · 20/05/2008 08:20

This is why I listen to R4. If you don't like it turn it off and complain.

southeastastra · 20/05/2008 08:23

i don't know, the worse thing is being so helpless to help

Uriel · 20/05/2008 08:26

If you think that's wrong, what do you think of the person who actually took the footage then?

Surely they're just as bad - if not worse - they could have been helping people.

glasjam · 20/05/2008 13:38

I am going to complain to ITN directly - I think they need to know what people "want" from their news - whether they will get any other complaints will be interesting.

As for the person taking the footage? Interesting... I guess in this day and age everyone is aware of the "value" of footage - who knows whether they took it for this reason or whether they just picked up their camera as most people do in all sorts of circumstances and just began shooting - an automatic refex in this day and age. Whether they were conscious or aware of what they were shooting it for is something we won't know. I guess someone will have purchased that footage? Or maybe they gave it for free. Maybe they thought it would help tell the world of the plight of their situation (particularly in the light of China's reluctance to give much away to the outside world). Who knows exactly the machinations of what went on to get it on our screens.

But added to the huge amount of stuff we've already seen, I don't think it was necessary to show it. Are we so completely emotionally thick to not be able to feel empathy with the fact that 10s of thousands of people have lost their lives without having the images of grief rubbed in our faces?

And for the poster who said "listen to the radio" - yeah I think I better had! I couldn't watch the next item on the news about the situation in South Africa which thankfully they flagged up as being "graphic and disturbing".

OP posts:
blueshoes · 20/05/2008 13:45

I was sobbing at the footage. I have been meaning to donate, but after last night's programme, I have now done it this morning.

It is sad, but perhaps that is one good thing to come out of airing such heartrending scenes - it helped to shake me out of the armchair crisis apathy.

NotABanana · 20/05/2008 13:46

What I didn't like is where they show the person they are trying to rescue (at one point on the phone to his wife) and then they said he died. Why show him, why have him on the phone and not just get him out, and why show something similar the next night?

TwoIfBySea · 20/05/2008 23:11

It would be fascinating to watch had it not been for the fact people died. Then it becomes macabre and I'm sorry, hearing about children dying in their schools is bad enough, to have to see one of them, so obviously dead and mangled, is beyond bad taste.

What if the parents of that child saw the footage. It was very graphic.

It brought nothing to the story, unlike footage of rescue workers etc. We all know what went on and how many have died.

jajas · 20/05/2008 23:17

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WillyWonka · 20/05/2008 23:30

I didn't see the footage because I've grown to loathe ITV's news coverage in recent years. The final straw came during their reporting of the attempted attack on Glasgow Airport when they broadcast 20-30 seconds of footage of a journey that the bomber "might have taken" from his home to the airport. You mean it was one of several possible routes from Point A to Point B?! That's not news, that's sensationalist speculation.

glasjam · 21/05/2008 00:24

Jajas - I know exactly what you mean about pictures and the power they have. It's undeniable. I too have been moved by pictures but I just hate the blatant manipulation. There's many a time I have sobbed in front of the telly and have been made to feel someone else's pain but where do you go with it? I really take your point sometimes we need the jolt up the a**e to make us feel anything in a world where so much is wrong. However, I feel it is sad when I need to see that human suffering to actually muster up any real sympathy.

It is so selective. And who is selecting it? And why? To fill up news' schedules?

Previous to this I have been a news junkie - glued to the telly when a major disaster has happened but I think I have had enough now - overload I guess...

OP posts:
youareamazing · 21/05/2008 00:34

Message withdrawn

toomuchmonthatendofthemoney · 21/05/2008 00:50

i too have given up on ITV/ITN so called "news" in recent years, it has really gone downhill in quality and become like a crap tabloid paper on the telly, very poor reporting in terms of content and accuracy. I prefer C4 7pm news or the radio for more accuracy, fairness, analysis and just a general sense of "calmness". by that, i don't mean ignoring the awfulness of terrible events, but portraying them with the dignity and gravitas they deserve.

ITN makes me feel like the worst kind of lurid, drooling voyeur.

And i would definitely lodge a complaint with that headmaster, totally inappropriate to do this without informing the parents!

NotABanana · 21/05/2008 07:20

youareamazing I would be asking the Head why they did that?

FairyMum · 21/05/2008 07:28

There is a school of thought which says that showing people this sort of footage will make it "real" and perhaps shock some people in to caring and donating. Unfortunatly I think it desensitizes people. If you cannot understand he tragedy without this graphic footage, then there is something very wrong with a person already.

Callisto · 21/05/2008 08:18

I agree FairyMum - R4 and my imagination are perfectly sufficient to show how hideous this situation is. I don't need pictures and diagrams.

southeastastra · 21/05/2008 08:20

i still don't know, you can turn over. it's happening isn't it.

jajas · 21/05/2008 10:06

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

2shoes · 21/05/2008 18:38

they have just had a child on descibing his school being crushed. wtf is the point. it was horrid.

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