[Image courtesy of Meteo-France (click for full-size version) showing the tracks of tropical cyclones in the South Indian ocean during the 2006-2007 season. Note that cyclones 3 (Bondo), 5 (Clovis), 12 (Indlala), and 14 (Jaya) made direct landfalls in Madagascar. Cyclones 9 (Favio) and 10 (Gamede) did not make direct landfalls but their circulations affected the island nevertheless.]
When Britney shaves her head, everybody hears about it.
When Ana Nicole Smith dies, everybody hears about it.
But when Madagascar gets struck by a record six tropical cyclones in one season, killing hundreds and displacing perhaps as many as a hundred thousand, not to mention jeopardizing food supplies for many more, does it garner major and sustained U.S. press coverage?
My recent Lexis-Nexis searches suggest no. Indeed, just ask yourself: Has the press made you aware of the disaster in Madagascar right now? I think the answer is dead obvious.
What a sad commentary on our media today….
UPDATE: Matt Nisbet blogs this post and discusses the “proximity bias” of the U.S. media…
P.S.: I don’t know much about how best to send a donation to relief efforts in Madagascar if you’re so inclined. But certainly a good bet would be the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Here’s how to give, and here’s their Madagascar page. You can see they’re working specifically on the cyclone issue.