Monday, April 19, 2010

Hit-and-run Reported in Media Shock

The BBC have given some prominence to this report of a tragic hit-and-run in which a 12-year-old girl died.

The only thing that makes it newsworthy is that it happened overseas in Gran Canaria and the victim was British.

There are similar tragedies on our roads every single day but they're not newsworthy, because they're so commonplace. If this incident happened in the UK, it would likely not have been given any prominence. After all, the story about Adrian Chiles leaving the BBC is far more important. If there's a UK roads story at all it will be probably be about parking tickets.

Maybe this media blackout over road deaths is why we tolerate the massive casualty figures. People are constantly aware of the deaths of soldiers in Afghanistan, and of dangerous dogs, and knife crime. But I bet you most people would not know that the leading cause of death of young people is car crashes, or that in many cases those deaths are preventable. In politics, we're not even having the debate about what (if anything) should be done to reduce the horrific death toll on our roads, because thanks to the media most people are unaware of the scale of it.

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