Per request from my former student(thanks Ashley!) I am going to offer a few thoughts on the swine flu...and my thoughts on the subject can really be summed up in one sentence: MEDIA STRIKES AGAIN!
The best thing that has come out of this pandemic so far is the funny joke going around that Ashley posted in an earlier post...."They said we'll have a Black President when pigs fly. 100 days later - Swine Flu! (flew)" LOL :-)
The most important thing that has come out of this is the latest example of the power of the media to DEFINE reality....not reflect it. While this new flu strain may or may not be a pandemic in the grand scheme of things, what the media made it OVER NIGHT was ISSUE #1.
It took NO time for it to be the topic of conversation everywhere, including my classrooms. Students came into my classes buzzing about a swine flu no one had heard of two days prior.. don't tell me the media is not powerful...it can shape people's thoughts, and as we've seen, behaviors, overnight. Understanding that power is critical.
So while I made light of the swine flu (I was not feeling well this past week and told students that i might have it...lol) I will never make light of hegemony and the media's power to shape our reality.
The airwaves are public and are supposed to be used for public good...but corporate media is driven by profit, NOT public interests.
Supporting organizations like FREEPRESS.NET and MEDIA MATTERS is one practical step we ALL can do to demand a truly free press and more accountable media. We also need to make sure we get information from sources that provide more robust and critical commentary, sites like ALTERNET.ORG and PLAYAHATA.COM.
Flu Schmlu ... Forget the Media's Hype
By Cervantes, AlterNet. Posted April 29, 2009.
There are many things to fear in this world, but so far the swine flu isn't one of them.