Some 25 years ago, the people of the Soviet Union believed every word that they could hear on TV or read in newspapers. Afterwards, the residents of the Soviet and post-Soviet space began to experience highly negative communication with the media. As a result, no one believes now the things that the media say.
Nowadays, there is hardly any media organization in the country that would maintain a whole information verification department. Does anybody need this verification against the background of the modern rhythm of life? Informing people is not the most important thing to do nowadays. It is much more important to attract readers, to win their attention with the help of catchy headlines, at least for a couple of minutes.
The popularity of online media is based on clicks. However, people mostly react to headlines in the first place. The content is not really important.
Here is an example. On February 23rd, a tragedy took place at the children's polyclinic in Russia's Yaroslavl. A baby died there. Here is the news picture of the event, based on the headlines of Russian news agencies right up to March 2.
- Child's death under investigation in Yaroslavl;
- Girl, aged 8 months, dies at polyclinic;
- What caused infant's death in Yaroslavl?
- Child dies at polyclinic. New details;
- Baby dies at polyclinic expecting medical examination;
- Baby girl, 8 months, dies after medics refuse to hospitalize her;
- Baby dies in the line to see the doctor;
By and large, most people will not read the news. Headlines make it all clear. Those, who decide to look into the matter in detail and use news stories as the source of information, are in trouble.
A federal TV channel said in its report on February 24: "An ER vehicle brought the child to the polyclinic, where the medics refused to help the baby. The consequences are tragic - the baby died."
Another national channel said in a news program on February 25: "A baby died in Yaroslavl in the line to see a doctor. The parents of the baby girl called the ambulance when the child was having fever. The doctors arrived only an hour later, but they refused to hospitalize the baby. After that, the parents took their daughter to the local polyclinic themselves."
Finally, here is the brief report from a third federal TV channel on February 25: "Several days ago, the parents of a seven-month-old girl noticed that the girl was not feeling well. They called the doctor on duty, who examined the child, but did not find any reasons for hospitalization. The condition of the girl worsened the next day, and the parents called the ambulance. Paramedics decided to take the girl to the nearest polyclinic. The doctors of the polyclinic also called the ambulance to take the baby to the infectious hospital. However, the child was showing no signs of life when the ambulance arrived. The cause of death has not been identified yet."
On February 28, a Yaroslavl-based newspaper "Native City" published different pieces of information about the tragic accident. The newspaper refers to officials and eyewitnesses of the tragedy. The paper particularly quoted an official with the Investigation Committee in the Yaroslavl region, Ilya Nazarov:
"On February 23, the seven-month-old girl was having fever and nausea. A district doctor examined the baby and prescribed medications. The fever subsided. When the child started feeling bad again, the mother and the uncle took the baby to Polyclinic No. 5. Doctors took lifesaving efforts, but it was not possible to save the baby. According to preliminary results of the autopsy, the girl had a cardiac defect."
The paper also quoted the uncle of the late baby - the man, who delivered the girl to the polyclinic:
"I came home in the morning, my 25-year-old sister was home. She was panicking, because her daughter, Emilia, was staring at the ceiling, fixedly. The girl had fever...Afterwards, when we came to the polyclinic, the doctors said that I had come to the wrong place. I started shouting at the doctors: "You are doctors! Save the baby!" [...] They began to take efforts ten minutes after our arrival. The ambulance arrived 30 minutes later. The paramedics said that they could use a second chance. They made the baby an injection of something in the heart. I realized that it was adrenalin."
We are analyzing a tragic story which does not have anything sensational to it at all. There are no ER killer doctors, who refused to hospitalize the baby. There is no line of people at the hospital either. There are parents, who rush to save their child, there are nurses, who didn't know what to do at first, because they do not have to rescue dying children every day. There are doctors, who needed ten minutes to estimate the severity of the situation. There is also the ambulance, which always comes late when you need it.
It may sound cynical, but this is a common story. A blogger was right when he wrote that there was nothing special about it. There is no blood, there is no personified evil, which the general public needs so much. "People always need to blame someone, because it is too scary to realize that the world can be brutal per se, that children may fall ill sometimes just because there are illnesses in the world," a blogger wrote.
Indeed, we all realize that there can be tragedies, that there are children who have cancer, there are orphans and disabled children, there are situations from which there is no way out. But it is very typical of human beings to run away and hide from all that.