Media ‘pigged out’ on Swine Flu

Washburn Review

Got a cough? It’s swine flu. Oops, we can’t call it that anymore. Because the pork producers have taken such a hit, it is now being referred to by its scientific name, H1N1.

There is a movement on Twitter to rename the “Pig Flu.” Some interesting new names have popped up, including Igpay Uflay.

While a global pandemic is cause for concern, the major media outlets seemed to gobble the story up and then blow it out of proportion. Indeed, if a dangerous version of a disease is rapidly traveling around the globe, then people should have up to date information about it. However, it seemed like the media made it seem like a biological weapon had been set off.

If a biological weapon is, indeed, set off, we want to know all about it and how we can be safe. However, as with any flu, the officials encouraged people to stay calm and to wash their hands. Something we hope people are doing, anyway. Also, it is our understanding that the regular, run-of-the-mill flu is highly contageous and all the same precautions should be taken.

The media latched on to this like it was another opportunity to talk about the Obama family dog or Michelle Obama’s bare arms. It is important to inform, not frighten the public. Every journalist waits for the opportunity to break important news to the public. That is what keeps us going through the mundane stories – the idea that one day, we can be Woodward and Bernstein. However, journalists should not create that opportunity for themselves by scaring the general public. Journalists report the news, they do not create it.

We encourage people to be vigilant, not sneeze and then wipe the goo on door handles and wash their hands.