US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Enough already about the cruise ship

Meghan Murphy-Gill | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

The Pew Research Center reports that the cruise ship that ran into the reef in Italy two weeks ago is the second most interesting story to the public. It’s also been the second most covered topic, as news outlet after news outlet has milked this accident for everything it’s worth.

The amount of coverage is comical at this point. A quick scroll through headlines reveal some creative editors angling to eke just one more drop of news out of the accident (Cruise Ship Scam Over Faked Death), those attempting to maintain that this is continues to be newsworthy because there are tragic deaths involved (Another Body Found on Wrecked Cruise Ship), and media outlets that simply continue to report on every single development, despite how mundane such developments are (Italian workers prepare to pump fuel from wrecked cruise ship).

It’s true that this accident was horrible because human lives were lost. It’s also true that despite that number still being relatively low compared to the amount of lives lost to hunger, war, or gang violence in the past few weeks, that those lives were equally important and don’t deserve to be brushed off.

But do you know how many people died in Syria this week? (52 were killed yesterday, alone.) Where you aware that our own government’s (lack of) quick, adequate response may have had something to do with tens of thousands of deaths from starvation?

Remember that ferry that went down in Russia last summer? Forty-one died in that accident, most of whom were children. Even if you do recall it, you certainly don’t recall waking up every morning to yet another story. I found just one on NPR.

I like to think that the church’s preferential option for the poor extends to how we consume and create media. My guess for why the cruise ship fiasco has garnered so much attention has to do with the same reason we’re more likely to hear news about a tragedy that strikes in affluent neighborhood than the day in, day out violence that destroys families on “the wrong side of the tracks.” I have zero in the way of judgements for people who spend their money on an Italian cruiseliner, but I’d wager that nearly none of the vacationers were people most suffering from the economic crisis in Europe.