Why the news covers Western terror attacks more extensively than in other areas

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    That about sums it up. It's always frustrating when people complain about this on Facebook or TSR or whatever and think they're making some kind of profound point. Why is there never as much media buzz about a bomb attack in the Middle East or Africa? Because it's like reporting on a fire in a furnace... A far away furnace that has little to do with us culturally, politically, or socially. Deaths in Afghanistan and Somalia or even India and Myanmar are an equal loss of human life, yes, but it doesn't resonate.
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    (Original post by KingBradly)
    Lol, trolling is funnier if you don't make it so obvious.
    It is what happening when I let my heart type

    Sometimes, I am forgetting that the world is full of racists
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    (Original post by KingBradly)
    The moral point was just additional. I still believe ethics are irrelevant to the question at hand, but if you want to talk about ethics, I think forcing the news to cover things which people aren't concerned about is rather totalitarian, and I think totalitarianism is very unethical in the sense that it reduces people's freedom.
    Well then I was attacking your additional moral point which you clearly made. You are getting confused with facts and then building a moral framework up from those facts. I agree with the facts, but not the moral conclusion you draw from them in that these facts justify under reporting of more foreign disasters. I don't agree with that. I have a different moral outlook than you.

    I never mentioned forcing the news to cover certain things. I just said I think there should be media that covers news in a more internationalist way. Hopswefully by convincing people of this it will create a market of media consumers that my preferred form of media can tap into. This already happens and is probably the trend. You even included Europe as being part of the west that receives greater coverage. Rewind to the 1800s and see if that was the case (it wasn't) If we are going to make bizarre comparisons to totalitarianism are you going to stop media from taking a more internationalist slant? Are you going to stop me from Kick Starting an internationalist platform for journalists?
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    Well then I was attacking your additional moral point which you clearly made. You are getting confused with facts and then building a moral framework up from those facts. I agree with the facts, but not the moral conclusion you draw from them in that these facts justify under reporting of more foreign disasters. I don't agree with that. I have a different moral outlook than you.
    But the problem is that the facts are evidence that building "a moral framework" up from them is likely impossible. We are absolutely hardwired to care more about things we have connections or are able to make connections with than those that we are less so able to, and I don't see any way in which that could change. You can call it unethical as much as you like, but it's never, ever going to change so I hardly see the point. It's like complaining that rocks are hard. Some changes are worth fighting for. Some changes are difficult, and may even require people evolving psychologically. But this goes far deeper than that. This is as fundamental as the fact that a leaf floating on a lake will shake more from the ripples of a falling stone the closer it is to it.

    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    I never mentioned forcing the news to cover certain things. I just said I think there should be media that covers news in a more internationalist way. Hopswefully by convincing people of this it will create a market of media consumers that my preferred form of media can tap into. This already happens and is probably the trend. You even included Europe as being part of the west that receives greater coverage. Rewind to the 1800s and see if that was the case (it wasn't) If we are going to make bizarre comparisons to totalitarianism are you going to stop media from taking a more internationalist slant? Are you going to stop me from Kick Starting an internationalist platform for journalists?
    If people want the news to be internationalist, then great. I just think that the news should give people what they are interested in, which for the most part is what it does. By looking at what and where the news covers most, we can see that people care about things in pretty much exactly the way you would expect from a social mammal. Sure, I agree the news should pay more attention to certain areas of the world. South America especially. But you're never going to change the fundamental way in-which caring works.
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    (Original post by KingBradly)
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    Excellent comment.

    It's also strange that Islamic groups would complain about this given they claim that Muslims are uniquely sensitive to the suffering of all Muslims everywhere. They take a very strong interest in "oppression" and "indignities" that happen to people to whom they are connected by religion, even if they're never travelled to the country in question.

    Most Western, English-speaking Muslims will care far more about a Palestinian being killed than an American being killed.

    And yet they lecture us on the fact that the media understandably focuses more on events that are geographically closer to us, culturally closer to us and much rarer?
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    I agree with all of those points (except maybe last one). I don't like that that it how it is however. I know that people care more about what feels closer to home, that doesn't mean I think that makes it morally acceptable. I know those are the reasons, but that doesn't make it right. You haven;t given any ethical argument. You just stated what you think are facts.

    So to all you dunderheads in this thread that can not distinguish betweens facts and ethics... I agree with the facts, it is your ethical con conclusion you draw from those facts I don;t agree with and I will keep complaining about western media coverage.

    Deal with it.

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    Hopefully I educated some ignorant right wingers. Your welcome.
    It's not so much about moral acceptability though. All kinds of horrible things happen every day. Hundreds of murders, rapes, home invasions, and that's before we consider things like occasional terrorist attacks. If we cared about all people indiscriminately, we literally couldn't function.

    I mean, you're suggesting that it's not ethically right that we care more about people we have some kind of connection to, than those we don't. So, do you think it's wrong that people are more upset when someone in their family dies, than when some random Joe Bloggs dies? Is it wrong that you'd be more upset if your mom died, than if 10 people were killed in a terrorist attack in Pakistan?
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    Everybody gives certain news and media more attention than others. It's a fact.

    People give more attention to what news offends them or who/what they valye in life.
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    (Original post by Dandaman1)
    That about sums it up. It's always frustrating when people complain about this on Facebook or TSR or whatever and think they're making some kind of profound point. Why is there never as much media buzz about a bomb attack in the Middle East or Africa? Because it's like reporting on a fire in a furnace... A far away furnace that has little to do with us culturally, politically, or socially. Deaths in Afghanistan and Somalia or even India and Myanmar are an equal loss of human life, yes, but it doesn't resonate.
    Yeah quite. The truth is that most of these people would, like the rest of us, sigh, shake their heads, and move on after hearing about such attacks if they didn't represent such a great, effortless way to show the world what beautiful, caring creatures they were.

    If there's some way in which we can meaningfully communicate solidarity with distant countries that have fallen victim to the same threats we face, great, I'm all for it, and I think we should all make an effort, but it is obviously going to be a far bigger deal if there's an attack on Paris or Brussels -- generally safe, Western cities that are right on our doorstep.
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    (Original post by SwedenYes)
    Menar du att västvärlden och vita liv betyder mer än andra länder och liv???

    Translation: Are you saying that western countries and white lives more matter than other countries and lives ???
    Ah, good old straw man arguments :rolleyes:
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    (Original post by Olie)
    Ah, good old straw man arguments :rolleyes:
    Well, partially.

    Western countries obviously matter more to Western people. That's just obvious.
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    (Original post by KingBradly)
    But the problem is that the facts are evidence that building "a moral framework" up from them is likely impossible. We are absolutely hardwired to care more about things we have connections or are able to make connections with than those that we are less so able to, and I don't see any way in which that could change. You can call it unethical as much as you like, but it's never, ever going to change so I hardly see the point. It's like complaining that rocks are hard. Some changes are worth fighting for. Some changes are difficult, and may even require people evolving psychologically. But this goes far deeper than that. This is as fundamental as the fact that a leaf floating on a lake will shake more from the ripples of a falling stone the closer it is to it.
    Surely the existence of people such as myself and ChaoticButterfly demonstrates that your claim is too strong here. I know plenty of people - 10,000+ effective altruists and/or utilitarians, for instance - who have impartial and universal concern for every human being (and indeed every sentient being).

    Perhaps not on an emotional level, but on a rational level. And, our actions - such as donating to the most effective charities that help those and save the lives of those in extreme poverty on the other side of the world - are based upon our rational understanding of the world.

    I agree that the notion that we can get the majority of people to have universal and impartial concern for others is far-fetched, but I think the danger is that people will equate your facts, as ChaoticButterfly put it, to being what is morally right.

    The media may not be too much at fault, in other words, but I think that individuals and governments could adopt a more impartial attitude.

    (Original post by BeastOfSyracuse)
    Excellent comment.

    It's also strange that Islamic groups would complain about this given they claim that Muslims are uniquely sensitive to the suffering of all Muslims everywhere. They take a very strong interest in "oppression" and "indignities" that happen to people to whom they are connected by religion, even if they're never travelled to the country in question.

    Most Western, English-speaking Muslims will care far more about a Palestinian being killed than an American being killed.

    And yet they lecture us on the fact that the media understandably focuses more on events that are geographically closer to us, culturally closer to us and much rarer?
    Well, that's just an illogical appeal to hypocrisy! We should be telling English-speaking Muslims and English-speaking non-Muslims to try and adopt a more impartial attitude, surely. I have a Muslim friend who I've made the same points to as I've made on here, when I've detected his biases.

    (Original post by Luke Kostanjsek)
    I mean, you're suggesting that it's not ethically right that we care more about people we have some kind of connection to, than those we don't. So, do you think it's wrong that people are more upset when someone in their family dies, than when some random Joe Bloggs dies? Is it wrong that you'd be more upset if your mom died, than if 10 people were killed in a terrorist attack in Pakistan?
    It's not wrong that you'd be more upset, but I would endorse the position that it would be wrong to save your mother instead of 10 strangers (if this is shocking to you, there would surely be some point at which you would save the lives of many, many more people instead of your mother's life). This is the point I was making earlier: on an emotional level, it is virtually impossible to get rid of biases, but our System 2 - the rational side of our mind - can override our System 1 - the emotional intuitive side.

    People might find this piece interesting. https://kirschnerskorner.com/2015/11...s-dont-matter/
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    Surely the existence of people such as myself and ChaoticButterfly demonstrates that your claim is too strong here. I know plenty of people - 10,000+ effective altruists and/or utilitarians, for instance - who have impartial and universal concern for every human being (and indeed every sentient being).

    Perhaps not on an emotional level, but on a rational level. And, our actions - such as donating to the most effective charities that help those and save the lives of those in extreme poverty on the other side of the world - are based upon our rational understanding of the world.

    I agree that the notion that we can get the majority of people to have universal and impartial concern for others is far-fetched, but I think the danger is that people will equate your facts, as ChaoticButterfly put it, to being what is morally right.

    The media may not be too much at fault, in other words, but I think that individuals and governments could adopt a more impartial attitude.



    Well, that's just an illogical appeal to hypocrisy! We should be telling English-speaking Muslims and English-speaking non-Muslims to try and adopt a more impartial attitude, surely. I have a Muslim friend who I've made the same points to as I've made on here, when I've detected his biases.



    It's not wrong that you'd be more upset, but I would endorse the position that it would be wrong to save your mother instead of 10 strangers. This is the point I was making earlier: on an emotional level, it is virtually impossible to get rid of biases, but our System 2 - the rational side of our mind - can override our System 1 - the emotional intuitive side.

    People might find this piece interesting. https://kirschnerskorner.com/2015/11...s-dont-matter/
    I brought you in here as I am to lazy/incompetent to make good arguments myself.

    Good work :top:
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    I brought you in here as I am to lazy/incompetent to make good arguments myself.
    I think your posts were eminently reasonable!
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    It's not wrong that you'd be more upset, but I would endorse the position that it would be wrong to save your mother instead of 10 strangers (if this is shocking to you, there would surely be some point at which you would save the lives of many, many more people instead of your mother's life). This is the point I was making earlier: on an emotional level, it is virtually impossible to get rid of biases, but our System 2 - the rational side of our mind - can override our System 1 - the emotional intuitive side.

    People might find this piece interesting. https://kirschnerskorner.com/2015/11...s-dont-matter/
    But that's not what we're talking about. I was responding to a comment saying that it's not morally acceptable to be more concerned for the wellbeing of those we are closer to. So if you agree that it's eminently reasonable to care more for the death of your mother than the death of some strangers, you're kind of agreeing with me

    WIth regards whether it's reasonable to let 10 people die to save your mom's life, you may be right from a theoretical point of view. In practice, I think you'd struggle to find anyone who would choose 10 strangers over someone they cared for deeply. I think that anything sort of apocalyptic levels of death, and most people would choose to save those closest to themselves.

    WIth regards that article, I think it's taking a pretty superficial glance at the issue in hand to say the least - I'd go so far as to say it's nonsense. I mean, if we cared about every death, every rape, every murder equally, we'd either have to be unimaginably callous towards them all or essentially cease to function. It isn't possible to grieve all suffering equally or we'd know nought but grief. Further, grief comes hand in hand with empathy, and it's fairly obvious that we can better empathise with those we share some kind of connection, be it familial, cultural, racial, whatever.

    The real root of this issue is evolution imo. Societies evolved because it's mutually beneficial for us to live together and provide for one another, look after on another. From this stemmed a desire to look after the wellbeing of those in your society, because their wellbeing impacted your own. If people from your society started dying, that wouldn't bode well for your future prospects. Our greater concern for those belonging to our 'society', so to speak, stems from this ingrained mentality.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    Surely the existence of people such as myself and ChaoticButterfly demonstrates that your claim is too strong here. I know plenty of people - 10,000+ effective altruists and/or utilitarians, for instance - who have impartial and universal concern for every human being (and indeed every sentient being).
    I have not denied that there are people such as yourself who take an interest in world events on an entirely rational level rather than an emotional one, I have simply stated that what the news reports and how much coverage it gives to different issues reflects the concerns of the majority of people, and the majority of people are particularly concerned with news stories which they feel they have some emotional connection to.

    (Original post by viddy9)
    Perhaps not on an emotional level, but on a rational level. And, our actions - such as donating to the most effective charities that help those and save the lives of those in extreme poverty on the other side of the world - are based upon our rational understanding of the world.
    Well, on the surface that seems like a great thing. But to take such a rational view of how one should care surely requires one to be dispassionate, given that it goes against how one is actually hardwired to care. Is this a good idea? Isn't there a danger that advocating that people care about things in a totally rational and unemotional way will ultimately lead people to try and think in an entirely computational manner which is simply incompatible with how the human mind naturally operates, and is therefore potentially maddening? If you are really honest that you care about things completely impartially and entirely rationally, does that mean that before every action you try to figure out whether it will benefit or harm the greater good? With every bit of money you get, do you assess whether someone else needs it more? Are there not people around the world who would benefit from using your house as a shelter? Do you house as many of these people as your house can hold before it becomes less pleasant than their original conditions?

    I don't believe people can think like that, I don't think it's healthy, and I don't think it works. I believe in a generally pragmatic approach to ethics but when you start going against how people's minds fundamentally work then you get problems. As I said in response to ChaoticButterfly, I'm not merely talking about psychology here, I'm talking about how we are neurologically wired up. We have evolved to be like this over millions of years of being pack animals. And perhaps there is a good reason for why in all pack animals caring works this way, and it may not be something worth attempting to meddle with. But then again, how else can caring work? As I also said to ChaoticButterfly, we're talking about something as fundamental as the fact that a leaf sitting on the surface of a lake will rock more on the ripples of a falling stone if the stone falls closer to it rather than farther. Things effect other things more when they have more connection with them. You're never going to change that, so why bother trying?

    (Original post by viddy9)
    I agree that the notion that we can get the majority of people to have universal and impartial concern for others is far-fetched, but I think the danger is that people will equate your facts, as ChaoticButterfly put it, to being what is morally right.
    I don't think people will. I think they will simply understand that it's just the way it is, and that it will never, ever change, so there's no point complaining about it because it's like complaining that rocks are hard. It's better to just be content with the things about people that cannot possibly change, or you will end up hating them. Can't we be glad that people care about as much as they do? It's pretty incredible.
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    (Original post by KingBradly)
    Well, on the surface that seems like a great thing. But to take such a rational view of how one should care surely requires one to be dispassionate, given that it goes against how one is actually hardwired to care. Is this a good idea?
    Don't concede 'rationality' to such people. It's an absurd conceit that one can reason one's way to 'correct' moral positions, and it's not one that ought to be encouraged.

    Every moral position is ultimately founded upon arbitrary starting points. It is not 'more rational' to ignore natural human inclinations in choosing them. If anything, in a social context at least, it is perverse to do so.
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    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    Don't concede 'rationality' to such people. It's an absurd conceit that one can reason one's way to 'correct' moral positions, and it's not one that ought to be encouraged.

    Every moral position is ultimately founded upon arbitrary starting points. It is not 'more rational' to ignore natural human inclinations in choosing them. If anything, in a social context at least, it is perverse to do so.
    Valid point.
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    (Original post by KingBradly)
    Well, on the surface that seems like a great thing. But to take such a rational view of how one should care surely requires one to be dispassionate, given that it goes against how one is actually hardwired to care. Is this a good idea?
    I think it's a good idea to move more towards thinking in this fashion.

    (Original post by KingBradly)
    Isn't there a danger that advocating that people care about things in a totally rational and unemotional way will ultimately lead people to try and think in an entirely computational manner which is simply incompatible with how the human mind naturally operates, and is therefore potentially maddening?
    It can potentially be maddening, but it would also be rational to recognise that putting too many demands on oneself will lead to worse consequences in the long run.

    (Original post by KingBradly)
    If you are really honest that you care about things completely impartially and entirely rationally, does that mean that before every action you try to figure out whether it will benefit or harm the greater good?
    Not every action, but I periodically evaluate my regular actions and look at whether they benefit or harm the greater good. (For example, I don't walk on the grass anymore due to the potential for greater insect suffering, although I think there's a low probability that insects can suffer). Trying to think about every action I take would probably be maddening even for me, so it's better in the long run that I don't. Although, I aim to get as close as possible, and I think that looking at every action would be the ideal.

    So, while I do recognise the limits of being human, that's not an excuse for me to act completely illogically.

    (Original post by KingBradly)
    With every bit of money you get, do you assess whether someone else needs it more?
    Yes. I'm a student at the moment so some of my money is being saved for the long-term (so that I can earn even more money in the future to donate), but I don't spend any of my money on things I don't need: I either save it or donate it to the most effective charities fighting extreme poverty, factory farming in the meat industry or those which are researching how best to reduce suffering in the future.

    (Original post by KingBradly)
    Are there not people around the world who would benefit from using your house as a shelter? Do you house as many of these people as your house can hold before it becomes less pleasant than their original conditions?
    Well, I will admit I fall short on this, although I don't yet have a house to house people in!

    (Original post by KingBradly)
    I don't believe people can think like that, I don't think it's healthy, and I don't think it works.
    I believe people can broadly think like that; I think it is healthy (donating to charity and helping others is one of the best ways to increase your happiness, studies have found), and the evidence shows that these activities do work. For approximately £2000, you can save a life if you donate to the Against Malaria Foundation, one of the most effective and transparent charities in the world.

    (Original post by KingBradly)
    Can't we be glad that people care about as much as they do? It's pretty incredible.
    In my view, we should be continually trying to make progress and expand our circle of moral concern. You're right, it is incredible that humans do care to a large extent not only for their families, but for people with various different characteristics, beliefs and regions of origin. As Steven Pinker documents in The Better Angels of our Nature, this has been driven by a reason-driven approach to ethics and the fact that the human capacity for reasoning has expanded. But, I don't think we're done yet, and it would be a tragedy if we don't at least try to build upon the - yes, incredible - progress that we've made.
 
 
 
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