The not so Triumphant...

The not so Triumphant…

Unless you live in a Buddhist monastery, you probably couldn’t help seeing or hearing about the Cruise Ship TRIUMPH, and its slow limp back into harbour – a 2013 SS Minnow on a three-hour tour. The ship left port on 7 February – for what was supposed to be a four-day trip. And then the trip evidently turned to shit…

The ship lost all power after a generator fire wiped out its electrical system leaving it powerless. And though I still don’t understand how the toilets were affected by the electrical system (unless it has to do with water pressure) the ship became a cess pool.

That does bite. I understand that it would be most, most unpleasant. But I hardly think it is the end of the world.  I mean, add a couple thousand watts of hard rock and a few pyrotechnics and it would be an outdoor concert in any field. Heck, about 44 years ago kids would have slid on their bellies in the stuff.

I admit that I would be torqued if I had dropped a couple of grand on the Turd Boat…and that I had to camp out on the Poop Deck. I might look for a return on investment – like my money back, some compensation and a deal on the next cruise. Oh, wait.  That is what Carnival is offering. However, in the typical “sue-and-I can get-rich for-no-effort-whatsoever” reality that is the American Dream, the lawsuits are starting:

Cassie Terry, 25, of Brazoria County, Texas, filed a lawsuit today [15 February] in Miami federal court, calling the disabled Triumph cruise ship “a floating hell.” “Plaintiff was forced to endure unbearable and horrendous odors on the filthy and disabled vessel, and wade through human feces in order to reach food lines where the wait was counted in hours, only to receive rations of spoiled food,” according to the lawsuit… “Plaintiff was forced to subsist for days in a floating toilet, a floating Petri dish, a floating hell.” (http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/carnival-cruise-ship-hit-lawsuit-floating-hell/story?id=18509079)

Give me a break.

Disconcerting? Revolting? Traumatic? Sure. Life threatening? Seriously…

The  angst has been unreal; the words that were thrown about did a disservice to those across the globe who are really suffering. Jim the Hammer ShapiroAsk the poor souls who are trying to survive in Syria, Darfur, Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen or Baluchistan for their thoughts on lining up two hours for food.  I wonder if they are considering lawsuits against their parents, or governments, or the arms industry. Too bad Jim “The Hammer” Shapiro wasn’t practicing law in the Third World – he’d get them a settlement.

Dadaab Refugee Camp Kenya

Dadaab Refugee Camp Kenya

How did this small problem – compared to the countless of real tragedies involving hundreds and thousand of people – gain such prominence?

Simply.  The media did it.

The national media, from the good old CBC to CNN covered “the Disaster” – the ill-fated voyage of the QE Poo. CNN even devoted hours to it.  Especially near the end. Photogenic anchors with no journalist skill kept asking stupid and leading questions in the hunt for a story – disgruntled people to spew venom about the trip. All it got were gentle kudos from its interviewees about the crew and how hard they tried their best to keep people out of the “dumps” – perhaps it was the crew’s heightened sense of “doodie” (okay…sorry, enough of the scatological puns). And bravely, CNN tele-linked passengers with their loved ones at home – give me a break! They were on a cruise ship, safe if not sound…not in a radical compound with hoods over their heads fearing for their lives. Their families weren’t really expecting to hear from them anyway and who wanted to listen to those private phone calls anyway?

Seriously?...

Seriously?…

The major story became the shared red bio-hazard bags…shared as in “do-you-have-a-spare-bag?” vice shared as in “…can-I-poop-in-your-bag?” whch was the CNN angle.  Even the potential voice of doom and suffering –  Dr Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s medical guru –  was hard pressed to come up with a shocking by line, admitting “that it was unlikely the passengers would experience widespread illness, despite deplorable conditions”. The eyewitness testimonials and the good doctor’s prognosis did not jive with the dramatic “Sheisse-Sturm” theme musik CNN was playing before the constant footage of the ship under tow. ”

And CNN and FOX and MNBC and CBC Newsworld and CTV News One were not any better.

Once upon a time I used to look at all these stations with awe using them to understand what was happening in the world. To follow major breaking news stories. CNN was a news leader at one point, just like Ted Turner wanted it to be. It’s coverage of world stories – German Unification, Gulf War I, 9/11, the Tsunami, the Japanese’s Earthquake, the Arab Spring are just a few events in a long list.

But somewhere over the 33 years since it started, it has changed.  Aside from the global game changers, which are easy to cover

Breaking News....

Breaking News….

because they are global game changers, the all-news stations suffer. We aren’t interested. Unless something remarkable happens, they have nothing to do.  But bills have to be paid and advertisers want viewers. So the newsies have changed the way the biz’ is done. No longer a news reporter, the media has now become the newsmaker.  Small stories become big stories. And the incessant, repetitious reporting sensationalizes the trivial.  The constant loops of the same news cycle has them scrambling for new angles to report the same details. No longer is the aim for detailed investigative journalism that provides all the facts in a well presented package; the goal is to present the biggest bang in the shortest time.  And to keep it reporting it over and over until the next thing comes along.

And do they care if it is true?

Evidently not. Otherwise why would they broadcast hours of numbing repeat footage and useless interviews with so-called experts and dubious eye-witnesses.  And like watching a train wreck, we cannot help but stare.

Bad things are happening all over the world, and there are events and places that we should be staring at.  But we don’t.   The Fifth Estate made a disabled cruise ship into a major news story. And it will continue to do so. I can’t wait for the coverage of the litigation as Ms. Terry looks for compensation for her ordeal. Hope her filth encrusted, shrunken shoes fit so she can prove she was a victim.

It’ll make for riveting and entertaining TV. It should be on right after the Oscar Pistorious trial…

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