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Danny Schechter: Putting Poverty On TV

poverty-on-tv
“When an issue is not on TV, it doesn’t exist for millions of Americans,” said Danny Schechter in an article for Global Research. Schechter was supposed to speak at the 52nd Session of the Commission for Social Development of the United Nations but did not have time to deliver his prepared monologue.

The article he wrote describes what his speech would have contained, including the opening quote. The statement is very powerful and the impact television and media has on the perceptions of Americans is enormous. People know about the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” but not about the billion or so humans trying to live in severely impoverished conditions.

The UN session focused on finding new ways to end poverty and improve the human environment in terms of global resources. Danny Schechter believes that “glamorizing” poverty the way pop culture is glamorized in the U.S. will help to put an end to the problem. No one can solve a problem that they do not know exists.

Seeing famous movie stars, reality television personalities or criminals on the news every day obliterates all thoughts of the world’s poor from the minds of audiences everywhere. It is recognized that students in high school and college may be disconnected from the realities of the real world to the extent that they often lack any sort of insight into the problems of others.

Relying on news sources that report only a few giant natural disasters and local sensationalist stories the majority of the time leads to an uninformed generation.

If readers went online and saw pictures of starving children, rundown villages, and overpopulated hospitals in all the places they normally see advertisements or stories about the rich and famous, the problem of global poverty would become much more prevalent on the scale of importance. More people would be talking about it, and more people would be acting towards eradicating global poverty.

Sending aid, medical supplies, food, and leaders to assist communities in the climb out of deep poverty would be a higher priority than the possibility of Justin Beiber getting deported.

Generating awareness about the causes and effects of global poverty is extremely important and intertwined with the solution. Knowledge is power, and the more information that can be spread throughout the world, the more aid will follow. Put global poverty on TV and the news; put it on the reality television shows.

The media plays an invaluable part in ending global poverty, and they need to start by getting involved and spreading the word.

– Kaitlin Sutherby

Sources: GlobalResearch, DESA Social Policy and Development Division, UNDESA Poverty, The Guardian
Sources: SheKnows Health & Wellness