As the coronavirus panic only continues to become greater and more widespread, media has suffered a harsh back lashing for the methods and strategy in which they have delivered the news about the pandemic as it has evolved over the last few weeks. Many feel as if the media has fueled the fire of panic, and ensued much of the fear that is currently prevalent in the minds of many civilians. However, there is controversy as to whether the media is simply just doing their job by informing the citizens of the current political, economic, and social threats today.
This backlash can be identified particularly after schools from early education programs to universities, began to shut down classes for extended periods of time. Parents and students began to voice their frustration with school systems for ultimately making the decision that would force them to alter the normality of their lives and their everyday routines. Many focused their blame on the media for ‘overexaggerating’ the issue and forcing administrations into unnecessary panic.
“I just think the media is blowing all of this out of proportion. All we see on the news is how we need to run to the grocery store and buy toilet paper. They act like the world is going to end. I mean, if I was a school, I’d probably shut down too” said Dena Kimball, a parent of a high school junior in Charlotte, NC. “Imagine if they didn’t shut down and then a student got the virus. They would be attacked in the media.”
However, many civilians feel as if shutting down schools is the only feasible option. In fact, many parents made the decision to pull their child out of school before it was even officially shut down. “It’s just not worth the risk. There is so much that a child can be exposed to in second grade. In the long run, It is easier and cheaper for me to hire a babysitter than it would be if my child got sick from the virus and I had to be out of work,” said Helen Massey, the parent of a second grade student at Jefferson Elementary School. “I am thankful that we have the media that keeps up ahead of the game, so we are able to watch out for ourselves and our families.”
Despite the various opinions of the media coverage, there is no denying that the media’s influence is widespread and prominent. As the coronavirus only continues to worsen and spread, we can expect that the media will only receive greater backlash as it attempts to cover such a fear driven pandemic in a way that is ethical, moral, newsworthy, and reliable.