Volume 91, Issue 8

Wednesday, September 10, 1997

froshted flakes


You can always blame it on the rain

By Sam Pane
Gazette Staff

Is the media the message or is the message the media? Is the message the messenger's, or should we kill the media and use the messenger? Bewildered, I seek to share some opinion on a subject upon which I am unarguably biased. Mainly, I am part of the media and the method I choose to convey this opinion is an arm of the media. The subject of discourse: the media.

Ridiculous! Self-defeating! Yes, I agree, but short of grabbing each and every one of you by the ears and yelling down your throat as you walk the concrete beach catwalk I am at a loss for what else to do.

The events of past weeks have drastically reshaped public perception of the media on a hitherto unprecedented global scale. We have suffered through the appalling death of Princess Diana whose only crime was the inherent and essential need of every human – to live one's life with relative peace.

Is it therefore too great a stretch to say she was murdered? No, Princess Diana was murdered. But the question remains, was she murdered by the media?

No. . . yes. . . partly. . . not exactly. It is comfortable to make the delineations that have been made by the media for the sake of the media. The paparazzi are a far cry from legitimate media, so says the media, for the sake of media integrity and reputation.

I pondered this very question last week when I arrived on the scene of a motorcycle crash at the university gates. As I spoke with a police officer and glanced at passing motorists I felt the tension and reprehension my camera was drawing. I felt guilty for taking photos. News photos for a news story. Somehow on some level, I equated my being there with the paparazzi photographers in the Paris tunnel.

There are very important differences, I told myself. I'm not a leech. I could never hunt a subject down and photograph them in their dying moments without lending a hand – for money. I would never do such a thing.

Yet, when I see pictures in photo journals of innocent people being gunned down in war-torn countries by corrupt governments in the name of greed I think to myself; I would take those photographs. I would hunt down that kind of scenario and take those pictures and sell those pictures to legitimate media. I would do this in the name of the public for the public to open eyes and offer change.

Undoubtedly, if I were skilled enough, if the pictures were good enough and the moment poignant enough, the public would consume. The same public that would consume tabloid bullshit.

Ultimately my point is that I don't really know what my feelings are.

This is an airing out, a personal assessment of one tiny hair on the metaphorical media dog. I put this to you as a public – a sympathetic, loving, vicious and demanding public; know your villains before you call on them, I'm certain they aren't as black and white as a photograph.

To Contact The Letters Department: gazoped@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997