I’ve been watching CNN a good bit since the earthquake in Haiti.
It’s been fascinating to watch the coverage evolve. At first, there weren’t even pictures. Anderson Cooper arrived on day 2, and now more and more reporters seem to be filing reports each day.
The despair, and loss of life, the destruction, is beyond words. As depressing as it is, we need these pictures — even though they offer only glimpse of the tragedy.
It puts cable news in perspective.
CNN has hardly cut away from Haiti since it happened. Fox News reports it, but they have little coverage on the ground. And, they report it along with other news stories — mostly political controversies that are basically news events being fabricated on the fly.
I have little respect for Fox News, not only because of their bias, but also because the emphasis they put on certain stories distorts the importance of those stories (or, non-stories).
CNN does the same thing. They sometimes have online polls with weird questions and then report the entirely predictable results as news.
But Fox is the biggest distorter, and it’s most evident when there’s a catastrophe in another part of the world and they don’t send a team of reporters. It makes it obvious that most of the drama they report 24/7 is being drummed up there in the studio.
It puts news in perspective — and it also puts my petty worries in perspective.
While the people of Haiti have lost everything, I’ve lost a few things myself.
Last Thursday, I lost my Tyrollean hat. It came from Austria and has been my companion for 25 years.
I delivered Coffee News all day Thursday. It was cold, but at one point my head got a little warm and I put the hat on the dashboard. After a while, it was in the way and I threw it on the back seat.
That’s the last time I remember touching my hat.
When you’ve had — and worn — a hat that long, it’s a little like losing a pet. The best thing to do when you lose a dog is to get a puppy, so I’ve ordered a new hat. It’s a knock-off, made in America. It’s not easy — and fairly expensive — to get them from Austria. It should arrive next week and I hope it’s the same as the one I lost.
The other loss — possibly — is my glasses.
While wearing the 3-D glasses in order to watch Avatar, I took them off and placed them on my coat.
After the movie, I stood up and put on my coat. My glasses landed on the floor. I was apparently mesmerized by the movie credits and didn’t notice this. Apparently, the movie was so powerful that I even forgot I wore real glasses — though they are bifocals and I need them all the time for everything.
So when I heard a crunch under my foot, I remembered my glasses.
I know there’s plenty of bad news in the world — all the time — and while it feels good to donate time and money to help alleviate suffering, it’s not a good idea, psychologically, to focus on human tragedy too much.
But it does put my own losses in perspective. A hat? A pair of glasses? Who cares?