Our view: Media spins controversy on Malaysian flight
March 25, 2014
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Since the Malaysian flight, MH 370, seemingly disappeared without a trace on March 8, the media has been speculating about as to what happened to the plane and the 239 people on board.
Headlines that have run include: The Los Angeles Times’ “Investigation of Malaysia Airlines pilots undercuts suicide theory,” CNN’s “U.S. officials: Indications found of files deleted closer to Malaysian Airline flight” and Fox New’s “Malaysia Airlines jet held by terrorists in Pakistan?”
While we believe some coverage of the missing plane is certainly warranted to keep the public informed, the expansive coverage and regurgitation of theories is borderline disrespectful.
With little evidence and big headlines, the sensationalizing media needs to take a step back and consider the families of those who have lost loved ones in the middle of all this speculation and controversy.
There also seems to be a large number of “experts” and “data specialists” delivering possible new scenarios almost everyday, but providing little to no substantial evidence to back up what they’re saying.
A theory without facts is just speculation, and speculation isn’t news. Media organizations shouldn’t be focusing so intensely on flight MH 370 until solid evidence is found on its whereabouts. As of now, no one knows what happened and news organizations need to take a break until the plane or passengers are found.
Not to sound cold, but there are other things happening in the world, and with the so much focus on the missing plane, we think that other important issues are at risk of being overlooked to make space for yet another speculative theory.
And at the end of the day, there are family members of the missing passengers still waiting and clinging to hope.
On Monday morning, the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak held an emergency press conference saying that the Malaysian flight has “ended in the Southern part of the Indian Ocean,” but even he didn’t provide the evidence to support his statement, only saying that new satellite data was from the British satellite Inmarsat.
To top it off, the victims’ families were notified Monday night via text message saying, “Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived.”
During this time where technology makes communication effortless, Malaysian Airlines may have been trying to beat the clock to inform the families as quickly as possible before the media dug their nails into the story. However, we feel like if that were the case, the families could have been just as easily informed through a personal phone call.
It was revealed Tuesday morning that the family members of the victims would each receive $5,000 in compensation for their loss from Malaysia Airlines, according to ABC news.
The passengers’ family members were outraged at the way Malaysia Airlines handled the situation and stormed the Beijing embassy yesterday in protest, and for good reason. One family member, who withheld his identity, said “Instead of giving us real facts, [Malaysia officials] kept delaying the facts at all cost, concealing and hiding the truth, attempting to deceive and cheat the family of the passengers, and attempting to cheat the people of the entire world,” according to an article from Fox News.
We believe the anger stemming from the passengers’ loved ones is warranted, not the media coverage spinning theory after theory.
We’ve become invested in this story along with a number of people across the world, however, that doesn’t mean we are OK with being force-fed false hope on a daily basis.
Instead, we would like the news media to take a step back and wait until the plane is officially found or a conclusion that is backed by indisputable evidence is reached.
Until then, the world will continue to be let down by debunked theories.