150,000 dead. This is a significant figure, but no less than the million folks displaced in Sudan by Janjaweed militias and the tens of thousands slaughtered by human hands in stead of an impersonal wave of water. Some events the media love to publicize and profit from, while other equally significant human tragedies collect dust in the news agencies "in" box.
Wretchard, over at the Belmont Club, is discussing the place torture has in the war on terror. The objections to torture and all human suffering have human compassion at their root. But what is true compassion? The gunmen who shoot and execute Iraqi election officials in the street and the child whose corpse is floating in the Indian ocean are equally horrific tragedies. However, the news media have picked up upon the latter as the "more significant" news story and have indulged in an orgy of media coverage. The general slant has been that the western, imperialist nations have not done enough to save all these folks. Nothing sells in the leftist, "old mainstream" media like a story which bashes the west. The journalists would like nothing better than to collect barrels of money from advertisers while pinning the blame for the tragedy at George Bush's feet. Like the farce of a film The Day After Tomorrow, the media would love to blame the US VP Dick Cheney and western induced "global warming" for the cause of the earthquakes. The left live in this state of hypocrisy and guilt. Being hard-core materialists they seek to balance this with what they perceive as human "compassion." The result is a group of individuals, journalists, who pursue a Jeckyll & Hyde lifestyle which alternates from daily excess and indulgence and then presents a quick on-screen "tear-in-the-eye" for the suffering of the world.
These folks don't donate their own personal wealth to causes, but rather feel their efforts as "journalists" spotlighting various folks' misfortunes is more than enough.
I know. It seems like this is about castigation of the mainstream media, and in truth part of it is, but it is more about trying to understand the way the world works and various tragedies are assigned various levels of significance. We are repeatedly told that we are not doing enough to cure and combat AIDS and yet other more competent killers, such as cancer and heart disease, are less glamorous and don't garner special ribbons to be worn by celebrities at their various annual self-glorification ceremonies.
The ignorance of it all is just astounding. Mark Twain used to rail on about the "moral sense" that humans were supposed to possess over animals. He would satire this sense, lampoon it, ridicule it and finally crucify it using as nails the sharp, cruel pages of human history. This "moral sense" is not dead, despite all his efforts to destroy the facade. It is alive and well among the leftists of the world who are the self-proclaimed virtuous members of the human race and who still bear the shield embellished with the "moral sense" crest. That their compassion is amazingly selective is not lost on those of us who make no claims to great morality or can turn on the faucets at will to produce a river of tears for the cause of the day. The revelation of the media and it's agenda-driven compassion here should be nothing new. They have, for well over a hundred years, enjoyed the power of trying to control others and shape their thinking. Whether on the printed page, radio, television or now the internet, the efforts continue unabated. The bloggers of the world now just add a bit of sacred "diversity" to the mix.
Tsunami victims are worthy of concern, but so are many others who are not on the media compassion agenda.
True compassion is found when one can care for all humanity equally and not just participate in the age-old mass "victimization" of various special-interest groups.