Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Disproportionate media attention

Call me callous, but I have been a little disturbed by the amount of media attention granted to Laura Gainey, who is currently still technically missing, but presumed dead, after being swept off the deck of the tall ship "Picton Castle" while sailing in the Atlantic Ocean a few days ago.
I wish no disrespect to Ms. Gainey, who was from all accounts a nice enough young woman. Quite the reverse. If anything, I find the media coverage itself somewhat disrespectful, as she is described almost without fail as "Laura Gainey, daughter of Bob Gainey", i.e. as an appendage of a semi-famous Canadian sports personality, all but unknown outside the country. Presumably she was also an individual in her own right.
Then, when Canadian MP Ken Dryden pulls strings to have the Coast Guard search extended, purely out of a personal friendship with Mr. Gainey, you do start to wonder whether this kind of nepotism and preferential treatment, however well-intentioned, isn't misplaced.
Just to put it into perspective, according to the Canadian Cancer Society, an average of 1,354 Canadians die of cancer every week, the majority though no fault of their own.
It is of course a sad occurrence for any family, and they have my sympathies. But does the individual death of a little rich kid voluntarily pursuing a dangerous sport really deserve so much more attention?

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