Media Reaction Paper Trenton Thomas Cultural Diversity March 1st, 2010 Patrick Arnwine Media Reaction Paper The Haiti earthquake that took place this past January 2010 was one of the most destructive natural disasters in modern history. The 7. 0 magnitude-quake destroyed parts of the Caribbean nation of nine million in Haiti, which is already known as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere before the disaster. The Haitian government reports between 217,000 and 230,000 deaths to date.
The earthquake caused major damage in surrounding areas and settlements within the region, including Haiti’s capital and largest city, Port-Au Prince which was left largely in ruins and sustained massive damage. Many buildings were also destroyed, including the local jail, hospitals, the presidential palace, and National Assembly. A number of countries, notably the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Brazil contributed large amounts of emergency relief aid, provided medical staff, and security personnel to assist with emergency rescue and immediate medical attention.
There was also an overwhelming response from many organizations, both large and small from around the world to further assist with relief efforts and help to orchestrate a humanitarian response for the Haitian population. A small office in an Atlanta First Presbyterian Church, a non-denominational faith-based charity, collected donations of medical supplies to ship to one of the Haitian Islands (Sierrie, John 2010). This was one of many charity events taking place all over the nation. There were many media reactions to the catastrophic earthquake that took place in Haiti this past year.
Whether via blogs, photos, videos, twitter, or any other form of mass media, voices would be heard from around the world. Many people have been able to share their sentiments about the disaster utilizing social media channels, such as Twitter and blogging. Amazingly, this allowed many to follow breaking news and developments practically in real-time. Social networking sites provided more of a human connection because individuals were able to experience what was really happening from those actually suffering or witnessing the destruction.
This was a connection that the mainstream media, such as the New York Times could not provide. Social Networks also proved valuable for the much-needed donations for relief efforts. Organizations such as the Red Cross and other Foundations were able to use mobile devices to accept donations by texting to a certain number. The Red Cross received a record-setting $4 million dollars in donations alone via text message. Kolisetty (2010) states “this was truly a social media response, and I’m proud to see my fellow citizens working together to disseminate important news and ramp up donations.
This is social media at its best: people collaborating and reaching out to do something good. ” Although there was an overwhelming response to the devastation in Haiti, not every media response was the same. According to Media Matters for America (2010), Fox News three top-rated programs for 2009—the O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, and Glenn Beck devoted a combined total of less than seven minutes of coverage to the earthquake in Haiti, instead placing more emphasis on an hour-long Sarah Palin interview, O’Reilly’s discussion with a comedy central host, and Hannity’s advocacy for senate campaign with a Massachusetts candidate.
Many critics suggest that Fox News did not meet its responsibility to provide prime-time news regarding the Haiti devastation to its viewers. Rush Limbaugh, a Conservative and Fox New host also ridiculed the Haiti devastation stating “President Obama would use the Haitian tragedy to enhance his standing with the light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country. ” He also seemed to dissuade people from contributing to relief efforts, complaining, “We’ve already donated to Haiti.
It’s called the U. S. Income Tax. ” (Foser, Jamison, 2010) In conclusion, the public and media reactions to the tragedy from around the nation were swift and in most cases admirable. From food distribution and supplies to rescue and medical attention, the nation has come together once again in another catastrophic event that has affected the lives of many. Social media networks as well as main stream media both attributed to the quick and powerful distribution of the news and photos of the devastation.
Looking ahead, as Haiti now plans to reconstruct homes, schools, streets, and other infrastructure, it is estimated that rebuilding could cost up to $14 billion dollars. It will definitely take some time for the Haitian population to regain their standard of living it once had. Civilization will be restored one day and Haitians will be able to live there normal everyday lives once again. References Haiti Government. (2010). Embassy of Haiti. Retrieved from http://www. haiti. org/ Media Matters for America. 2010). Retrieved from http://mediamatters. org/research/201001140029 Foser, Jamison. (2010). The Right-Wing Media React to Haiti. Media Matters for America Serrie, John. (2010). Small Charities Make Big Difference in Haiti. Retrieved from http://onthescene. blogs. foxnews. com/2010/02/10/small-charities-make-big-difference-in-haiti/ Kolisetty, Akhila. (2010). The Haiti Disaster: A Social Media Response. Retrieved from http://akhilak. com/blog/2010/01/13/the-haiti-disaster-a-social-media-response/