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According to former President Barack Obama, there is a double standard in the coverage of the OceanGate Titan submersible and a migrant boat that sank off the coast of Greece.
Former President Obama had an interesting — to say the least — on recent media coverage of the OceanGate ship that has captivated the nation.
He called the coverage an “inequality” in our “democracy” in his interview with CNN Thursday.
“Our democracy is not going to be healthy with the levels of inequality that we’ve seen generated from globalization, automation, the decline in unions. Obscene inequality. You think about news of the day. Generally, we’re not talking about news of the day, but right now we have 24 hour coverage – and I understand it – of this submarine, this submersible that tragically right now is lost at the bottom of the sea,” he began.
“At the same time, right here, just off the coast of Greece, we had 700 people dead. 700 migrants who were apparently being smuggled into here and it’s made news but it’s not dominating in the same way and in some ways it’s indicative of the degree to which peoples’ life chances have grown so disparate,” he continued.
Obama references a boat that capsized off the coast of Greece last week. The ship carried around 750 migrants when it sank mid-route from Libya to Italy.
Only around one hundred passengers have been rescued as of Friday.
The details are horrific. And are worth a news story. However, the story is not one-to-one with the OceanGate Titan.
The media covers stories that engage viewers and readers. The submersible did that, while the migrant ship would not have.
The Titan took a visit to the Titanic, a historical symbol of American culture.
The story captivated even Americans with no interest in the news for that reason. They hear the word “Titanic” and think back to the film of the same name, the one that likely introduced them to Leonardo DiCaprio.
(It wasn’t as good as his performance in The Departed, but wasn’t far off.)
A countdown for what remained of the oxygen supply rounded out the coverage. In all the wrong ways, the ticker provided great suspense:
The sub headed to an area also closer to home in Newfoundland, Canada, some 370 miles from where the Titanic lies.
Meanwhile, the migrant ship capsized off the coast of Greece.
Of course, viewers were more glued to the submarine tragedy. That doesn’t make one more important or tragic than the others. It’s the reality of the ratings business that is American news.
The OceanGate Titan catastrophe reads like a mini-series on Netflix:
Five people hunkered in a small submarine to sink 13,000 feet into the sea to visualize the remains of the Titanic, but the trip goes amiss as the sub vanishes and the supply of oxygen wanes.
That, Obama, is why the submarine received more coverage than a sinking migrant ship. Not some “obscene inequality” that plagues our “democracy.”