Compassion

I was very interested in Chouliaraki’s article about the visibility of suffering. I can see how the way a news story is framed would affect the viewers perspective, but I found it difficult to completely accept.  In the article it argues that there is ordinary and then extraordinary news and that this is presented differently.

I think that compassion is something people will either feel or not feel for someone distant from them.  I think that you’re ability to relate to people who are far away or distant from you has more to do with personal experience and circumstance.  The framing ends up being a factor in this, but I think its importance is somewhat over-emphasized.

Tragedies when they are presented in the news can lead people to a moral decision about whether to care, or donate money, or in some other way become active participants.  However I think that these people that are moved by the stories would otherwise be no matter their framework.  They argued that some of the extraordinary events that were framed in a way that made you feel closer to those suffering had higher donations etc… However I think that people who donate money to causes are more likely to do so for a cause when it is easily found.

To clarify I feel that the pool of people that is going to actually care about an event is always about the same size, but that how it is framed doesn’t determine whether or not we care, but emphasizes what we pay more attention to.  For example if in a week 10 stories are shown on the news about people dying in floods, then the way they are framed is going to affect what we care more about.  In this situation framing an event in a certain way can draw on the support of all the people to care, so instead of what people care about being spread over many topics, the news has the ability to make an event big enough that all the people pay attention to that one event.

 

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