Friday, February 1, 2008
"Tsunami Tuesday" term is tasteless
"Tsunami Tuesday?" Just Say No!
Steve Outing, on Poynter.org, backs up Columbia University's Sree Sreenivasan: It would be egregiously insensitive for political reporters and bloggers to continue to propagate the offensive term "Tsunami Tuesday" to describe next Tuesday's multi-state primary elections -- when a "wave" of voters are expected turn out across the U.S. As Sreenivasan reports, the offensive term is already gaining widespread use in headlines and on newscasts and talk shows.
Let's face it, plenty of journalists do act like sheep on these type of things. Indeed, maybe it's already too late to stop this misguided train. (Yeah, I know, that was a mixed metaphor -- but you know what I mean.) But even if you've used the term, you can stop now.
The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami wasn't just another "news event," but one of the deadliest disasters of all time.
Am I being overly sensitive? I don't think so. The Asian tsunami of December 2004 claimed over 200,000 lives. Making light of it and comparing that immense tragedy to a political event is incredibly insensitive and offensive. Yet already mainstream media has embraced it.
I'm persuaded by a couple of Sreenivasan's examples of similar phrases we wouldn't use: "Would we call Giuliani's drop in the polls his 'Ground Zero Plummet'?" and "We'd never say, 'Rudy's campaign fell like the twin towers.'"
Tsunami Tuesday? ... Just Don't Do It.