Like much of the world I have watched the videos of the tsunami that hit Japan with morbid curiosity. To see the wall of water and collected junk rolling across farmland and through houses was one of the most horrific things I have ever seen. But it draws me to wonder at the news people.
Life is dangerous, we know, and I am no helicopter pilot but to see a human being riding a motorcycle along a road and not to drop down to try to rescue them as the water moves inexorably towards them seems to me to smack of indifference. It reminded me of seeing dozens of horses dying during a drought in Australia and the film crew filming their terror, their struggle without ever trying to bring water to them. You have to film it as it happens; that is real; that is what the people want to see. The film has become more important than life.
When a film crew appears everything changes. It is no longer cruel life just happening, because they are there. They are witnessing death and to do nothing to try to help denies their humanity. The person on the motorbike may have been doomed, they may not have been able to do anything, but that is not true every time.
The news is not more important.