Sunday, February 22, 2015

Stuart Scott's passing and how news covered it

On Jan. 4, 2015, ESPN announced that host Stuart Scott had died at the age of 49 from cancer. NaHaDaily decided to run a story that Fox News had mistaken Scott for ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith. The main reason was because both are African-American. There are a plethora of things wrong with this "story."

Firstly, NaHaDaily is a satirical "news site." They ran this story including this comment which appeared to be from Fox News, "You know all famous black people look-a-like. No harm, no foul." Just because it is satirical does that mean they can say and do whatever they want? Starting out the story with this comment is uncalled for given the racial history of this country and all that has been going on recently with racial issues especially in the U.S. This makes them and Fox News seem ignorant to all of that.

They have a disclaimer at the bottom of their stories that reads "NaHaDaily is a daily satirical news source. Meaning complete fiction." This does not mean that everyone who reads it will know that it is fiction. Apparently not everyone did according to some of the responses on Twitter, leading to my second thing wrong with this so called "story."

They put Fox News in a bad light. Some people on Twitter commented in a negative way about Fox News reportedly making this mistake. Someone said, "Fox News did Stuart Scott dirty. And Stephen Smith. How do you give a man a tribune... Via the face of another man, that's alive?" Obviously some people believed the article, and although some people may already think that Fox News twists its stories to cater to their crowd, making fun of it will only make people angrier and will create more of a political divide between the two major political parties in the U.S. (Democrats and Republicans)

Thirdly, don't play with death. In this situation, it is not funny to mistake someone's death for another person's on purpose. It is not right to do it on accident either, but what makes it worse is that NaHaDaily knew exactly what they were doing. It is disrespectful to the person, their family and the people who loved him or her.

This story fit perfectly with the things we have discussed in my Current Issues in Mass Communication class. Talking about where people get their news and what's real and what's fake is crucial. At least NaHaDaily says that their stories are fake, which is better than newsrooms knowing it's fake, but not saying anything about it, but taking it to this level with death playing a factor is not ok.  

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