unbiased reporting

I was just reading online about the quake in Turkey. Most of the headlines decried the 10,000 declared dead or the 35,000 believed still trapped in the rubble. But there was this one from, as will become obvious, the BBC: “2 Britons Among Quake Victims In Turkey”.

When I lived in New Zealand I heard an expression a couple of times regarding what was considered news – it was news if it happened to a single Englishman, a dozen frogs or a thousand wogs. (I can’t remember it exactly – it scanned a little better than that, but that was the jist.) I always thought it was an exageration, but I guess not!

“non sunt multiplicanda entia praeter necessitatem”

This is one of my pet peeves as well. It’s not just disasters where nationalistic news coverage rears its ugly head. Coverage of the Olympics is where you really notice this. An American network will anounce that so-and-so from anytown, USA took the Silver metal, and not even tell you who won the event.

You said that the report was on the BBC. You answered your own question, didn’t you? Or did I misunderstand? Humans are social creatures (for the most part). We like to identify ourselves as part of a greater whole, on many different levels. An earthquake on my continent would grab my interest a little more quickly than an earthquake on another continent, as would a shooting in my country vs. another country, or on my street vs. your street, or something happening to my mother vs. your mother. As you get closer in to your concentric circles of belonging, your empathy and concern are greater because they are getting closer and closer to YOU. Someone listening to the BBC may have had some family in that quake (the odds of a Brit in Turkey having family in G. Britain are probably a wee bit greater than someone from Turkey having family in G. Britain, not much maybe, if you want to argue that, but greater nonetheless). I don’t think that this was unduly biased. Plus, they’re there to sell ads / make money, not do exactly what is ‘right’. They have to pay the bills, too.

Yes, I’m more interested in a fire in my neighborhood than I am in one across town. And I’m not surprised that the sports reporting begins with the local team – but 2 Britons vs. 40,000 Turks?

I’m not against the general idea of local coverage but there’s a point where it becomes insensitive. It would be fine to report the number of local people involved, or why they were there, etc. but these were headlines. They should report the most important news.

As a humorous example, I used to live in Peoria, almost exactly half-way between Chicago and St. Louis. The sports page was always torn between covering the (baseball) Cardinals or the Cubs. That other Chicago team was almost never even mentioned. The headline would be: “Cubs Lose On The Road Again”, the article below the fold would be: “Cards Drop Another One”, and then, on page 2, near the bottom: “White Sox Extend Winning Streak to Six”!

“non sunt multiplicanda entia praeter necessitatem”

It occurs to me that maybe they knew even then that Hilary had picked the Yankees for her American League team! LOL!

“non sunt multiplicanda entia praeter necessitatem”

CK Dex: I think you need a bit more to your disguise than a different colored shirt! How about those glasses with the nose and mustache attached?

Monty Python (of course) addressed this almost thirty years ago. In one show they opened with a “news report” of an accident somewhere, ending with “No Britons were hurt in the accident.” Throughout the show, there were various “newsbulletins” for sheep, cows, ducks, geese, horses, etc. At each “bulletin” the identical story was read with the closing line “No {animal-type} were hurt in the accident.”


Local news can be pretty pathetic in their effort to “bring the news home.” They interview someone vaguely, remotely connected to the national news story who lives here in town. “Tonight at 11, we’ll talk with the second cousin of the woman whose neighbor used to babysit one of the Columbine shooters.”

All things being equal, all things are never equal.

I guess it doesn’t matter unless it matters.

The moon looks on many flowers, the flowers on but one moon.