It started with a 12 miles long oil slick “believed to be” from the missing Malaysian Airlines MH370 airline, moving on to a mysterious yellow object rescuers “suspected could be a life raft”, and then finally a rectangle object “thought to be” one of the doors of the jetliner.
FALSE, FALSE, STILL MISSING. The media ought to be punished for messing with our minds and emotions.
News outlets all over the world have been feeding us netizens with updates of the MH370 search and rescue operation, and almost all of the object discoveries have been proven to be unlinked. It is no wonder that online users caught in this whirligig are starting to question how the media is carrying the story.
Is the media (conspicuously) taking advantage of the tragedy for advertising gains?
Should the editors have pushed the stories out only AFTER the suspected objects were verified?
It has been an emotional roller-coaster ride for me at least. It is as if I am exhausted, stuck and walking in the Sahara Desert underneath the scorching heat. I spotted a glimmer, a shine resting on the horizon. I approached it, the picture of a puddle vivid in mind. I dashed forward, but to my dismay, it was just a shine from an abandoned metal piece.
I believe tens of thousands of netizens following the MH370 investigations share the same sentiment as I do. I can never and will never know what families of the missing passengers are going through now. Their emotions and minds must have drained to the last drop possible, with only hope preventing it from falling.
Who is the source?
It is easy to blame the media for toying with our minds. However, netizens must know that all updates published by the the media come from a source, in this case either the Vietnamese or Malaysian officials involved directly in the rescue operation. The media only takes the information and pushes them online for public perusal.
Do not be confused with the difference between speculation and news on an event based on facts. For the most part of it, the media has been doing a good job in sharing timely updates as the rescue operation unfolds. That said, there are articles which offer nothing but speculation (interviewing experts) to feed on the readers’ curiosity.
The nature of the tragedy
I would consider the missing MH370 Malaysian Airlines jetliner as a large-scale tragedy, as it involves 239 human lives. (In fact, one life lost is too many.) The airplane’s sudden and extremely mysterious disappearance also adds to the oddity factor of the news piece.
Add these two up and you have millions of people around the globe speculating, with some remaining sanguine that all the passengers onboard are still out there alive. As humans, we always seek out for a closure. In most accidents, closure brings to the table answers to “What and why it happened?”. Sometimes, when a guilty party for an incident is held responsible, the victim’s family members gain closure.
Nonetheless, in the case of the missing MH370, even the first basic (yet crucial) question left unanswered: “Where are they?”.
To post or not to post?
By now, you should understand that rescue operation officials are responsible in providing updates to not just the victims’ family members, but also the millions of netizens. The media is merely the middle man, relaying information to its readers.
One scenario to ponder about: It took one day for officials to prove that the oil slick was not from the jetliner. Supposed they decided to verify each and every objects prior to releasing the discoveries to the media, how much lag could it have caused?
A lack of updates may cast an impression that the rescue operation is heading nowhere, with no leads whatsoever. In short, the huge fleet of ships and aircraft is pointless, and rescuers deployed are ineffective. I believe this could cause even further distress and tension among the passengers’ next-of-kins.
I think it is better that we know something than nothing. Even though the discoveries have proven to be unrelated to the missing MH370 so far, at least it gives a psychological reassurance to the family members that there is progress with hundreds of rescuers out there searching for their loved ones.
Featured image credit: Digitaltrends
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