The news is funny to me, in a sad way unfortunately. Depending on what network you watch or newspaper you read, you can find whatever point of view suits your predilection. However, there is one common theme regardless of publication or channel…FEAR SELLS.
The news cycle is full of fear based ‘news’ stories. Why, you ask? Because it gets ratings, sells newspapers and most importantly, nets big time advertising dollars.
If it isn’t the storm of the century, murder, a crime spree or travel warnings, the media will simply look to see what’s in the queue and drop in a filler story. Pay attention for a couple weeks and when events slow, keep an eye on the top stories. You’ll be amazed at what media outlets drum up.
A few stories of late I noticed included: ebola, an asteroid hitting the earth that could kill millions at any moment and Antarctic ice caps melting at a rate that will raise sea levels and cover Miami Beach and flood Manhattan subways (by 2250, mind you). Now, I’m not saying these are outright lies or bad science, but what I am saying is that it is broadcast or printed to get eyeballs.
For the sake of this post, lets consider travel in the news.
The media portrays the world as a big scary place that should be feared, especially for those in the U.S. traveling abroad. This has some unfortunate consequences and no doubt puts fear in the minds of many people. On a number of occasions I have been in a conversation about traveling and something like the following is said; ‘Are you sure you want to go there? A lot of people get killed in that city.’ OR ‘Be careful, they hate Americans everywhere and might steal your kidneys.’ Seriously.
There are terrible incidents that take place in the world, which the news media feasts on and sensationalizes. These occurrences are few and far between, but they steal the headlines.
Of course, taking the right precautions is smart and necessary when traveling, but the world is not out to get you. Walking a dimly lit street and flashing valuables while intoxicated is just as idiotic in New York as it is in Rio, Bangkok or Cape Town. Bottom line; be smart and attentive, just as you would at home and don’t put yourself in a bad situation.