At least eleven non-famous people are dead, and 40,000 more have had their homes wrecked or damaged. That’s 39,999 Americans who aren’t celebrities, so their very real tragedies simply didn’t rate as headline news.
This is nothing new. When the Titanic sank — arguably the first news story to get immediate, international coverage — newspapers ran large photos of the Astors, who were aboard, and only later began to report how many third-class passengers were lost because there weren’t enough lifeboats. It will always be this way: Big names sell headlines, and the suffering of nobodies gets a bored shrug, and we move on to whether or not a gymnast stuck her landing, whether Britney Spears looks more toned than last time we saw her, and whether Donald Trump is still Donald Trump.
It’s frustrating, even sickening, when the news gets covered this way. Here’s what we can do in response.