Question Lady Question

The Question Lady writes:

Do you think that watching the news makes people more — or less — empathetic about disasters?

About Question Lady

I want to know.
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7 Responses to Question Lady Question

  1. I think the more a disaster is portrayed on TV the more people tend to switch off. They empathize but only to a certain point. It’s like wringing out every possible tragic detail continually from every angle. Disasters with them being so frequent in recent years if it doesn’t affect them then the empathy isn’t there as much.


  2. Question Lady says:

    Thanks, Hayley. That makes sense.


  3. epiminondas says:

    Definitely less. You become jaded by all the images. It seems to just swirl around you all the time…punctuated by commercials urging you to give to a variety of causes…all illustrated by heart breaking photos of miserable children. Gak!


  4. Sir Barken Hyena says:

    I think mass media desensitizes people in all ways.


  5. Fenster says:

    compassion fatigue seems to come quite quickly. but it is more likely when there is no context, or when the suffering seen is viewed as being experienced by an ‘other’. i’d guess it is also the case that when the suffering becomes real enough, or if the sufferer is viewed as ‘one of us’, that the normal capacity for compassion can break through–witness the fundraising for katrina, say.


  6. junedentzer says:

    Despite the desensitization from over exposure to the media, I feel that the manipulative nature of the reports tugs fiercely on the heartstrings of many. I become angry if over exposed, but others are moved. It depends on who you are. This being said there is no way not to feel sympathy for those in the northeast.


  7. I’m with June. When a disaster comes along, I often find that media reports are pretty darned effective and touching on a human level — but only for the first few hours. After that, all the glitz and packaging set in, and it all becomes fake-fake-fake. But I can find on-the-spot/at-the-time reports pretty amazing and pretty touching.


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