Monday, May 15, 2006


There's a column by Paul Sheehan in today's Sydney Morning Herald about the recent fuss over the two Tasmanian miners recently freed from their underground cage.
He wonders at the way the media has labelled them heroes, when they have their lives due to the good work of their rescuers. And that it's strange for the whole thing to be treated as a feel-good story when one guy was killed (though he's mostly forgotten in the news stories). It'd be nice to think some of the media $$$ might go to that miner's family.
The writer pointed out something else annoying - recently three guys were lost out in the seas of the Torres Strait for 22 days. They were out there so long in their 5-metre boat that the search party was called off. They were there for quite a few more days than those two guys were trapped in the mine, but they managed to survive, making use of seawater, raw squid and shellfish (and they did it on their own, unlike the miners). But their story hasn't gotten onto the Footy Show or anywhere else - they were three outback Aborigines.
I've been trying to think that it's nice to see Australians caring about a story like this, since it's about two people being rescued rather than the usual gloom and doom new stories. And we probably shouldn't be too hard on the media, as they could hardly be expected to leave the story alone - 'boy trapped in well' stories are like 'attractive young woman on trial for taking drugs into Thailand' stories - short term events full of human drama that can be dragged out over a number of weeks, with a guaranteed exciting ending (both death and salvation sell papers).
But I don't like how obvious the media and politicians have been in picking and choosing who they're going to promote to us as being 'heroes', great 'Australians' (as if two Chinese miners would have eaten each other in the same situation), and great examples of 'mateship' (that term starts to sound more fascist and racist every time I hear Johnny H use it).

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