The role of the mediaWhat if Titanic had happened in 2001


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steve b

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Just a thought that i cant get out of my head, and maybe its the cynical nature in me, but i cannot shake the scary image of what it would have been like for Titanic to have happened in todays modern times as opposed to when it originally sank. The American press not withstanding, you also have the British style of tabloid journalism, and can you see the headlines now in the National Enquirer? "Smith still lives in the first class dining hall" or some ridiculous claim such as that. Maybe 1 thing Titanic was spared was the awful scrutiny of having crew passengers and the like spared from the truly sensationalistic style of todays headline and story writers. Dont get me wrong here, im sure the presses were harsh even then, and i dont the term 'objective journalism' was fully in practice yet at that point. But i have no doubt that in the modern age, Titanic would have recieved 5 times the hype OJ Simpson did.God, amen to being spared that cruel fate
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>i'm sure the presses were harsh even then...<<

Oh boy were they ever! The pulpits were no prettier either. The preachers had a field day with it to say nothing of contemporary activists. They were all over it befor anybody had a chance to sort out fact from fiction. Some things never change.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Dave Hudson

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Apr 15, 2011
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Steve,
If anything, the press was worse in 1912. At least the press today (in the US, don't know about England) sticks to stories with evidence to back it up. 1912 yellow journelism was plagued with unsubstantiated rubish-whatever would shock the public into buying it. True, tabliods do it today, too, but they hold back if a big lawsuit is possible. In 1912, people didn't sue the media, it just wasn't done. Today everyone sues everyone.
What I'm saying is that in 1912, the newspapers WERE the tabloids, and so people as a whole believed them. Today, newspapers deliver the truth within reasonable accuracy and authority. 2001 tabloids are considered sensationalism and are rarely taken seriously, they are meant as a laugh.

David
 
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steve b

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Micheal-Hmm interesting point, i never considered the pulpit angle. But just goes to show you when you give someone a captive audience, you never know what will happen. Dave-its funny, but ive heard some people say they believe the tabloids here now more so that in the past, because the reporters motivation is money to bring up an accurate true revealing blockbuster of a story. I guess what im saying is with the simple AMOUNT of media outlets availabe today, this story would have been hacked and exploited until there was nothing left on the carcus but mere bones. Thats the one thing that aggravated me about Bush-Gore. The media finally had a story, and instead of covering it with object viewpoints, they instead were beating each other over the head in search of the new "shocking angle" to beat out the competetion. Modern media to me these days represent vultures in trees. But thats just this idiots viewpoint
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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One thing that would happen today is that the media would be much more careful about libelling people. A modern Bruce Ismay or Cosmo Duff-Gordon would sue the socks off anybody who printed the sort of defamatory material published in 1912.
 
Jan 5, 2001
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<FONT COLOR="ff0000">If anything, the press was worse in 1912. At least the press today (in the US, don't know about England) sticks to stories with evidence to back it up.

Our press are generally alright, but sometimes not, like when covering the riots we've had around the country this last week.
 
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steve b

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I dont know about any of this. For me it seems the presses are given a lot more liberal freedoms. and i dont think they fear lawsuits as wed like to believe for the simple matter of them having high priced attorneys. Although i am curious as to how the 1912 mass media would have handled things with the threat of lawsuits hanging in the wind. But i still cant help but wonder what it would have been like in the modern age with the likes of CNN or the nightly fix of Ted Koppel and Nightline around
 

Joshua Gulch

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Mar 31, 2001
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Man, if the Titanic disaster had happened in todays world, all the kids would be pulling copycat incidents all over the place.

Josh.
 
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steve b

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Thats a scary but true thought, Josh, and it lends credence to the sense of overkill that exsists in the media. God knows, would we also have Dionne Warwick and her psychic friends claiming to be talking to Thomas Andrews?
 
May 8, 2001
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I have a sickening thought that it would be like everthing else today. Plastered on every radio and TV program 24/7 until we are all so sick of it that we loathe the thought of turning on the TV. The hearings would be telivised of course and anyone involved would be paid exhuberant money to show up on talkshows, therefore making a bidding and a station war. They would park out on the lawns of the survivors trying to get stories, or exclusive book deals and the victims photos would be published or on a gore site on todays internet. Centerfold offers from Playboy, and Tv shows like "Who wants to marry a survivor" and the show "Survivor" would have a different meaning. Stories and gossip of inappropriate behavior of victims would be uncovered and circulate like wildfire shaming those left to pick up the pieces. I believe Ismay would merely blend in with one lucky enough to have gotten a seat. Every civil rights group would sue White Star Line out of business, if the cost of clean up and study of enviromental and social impact didn't do it first. The protesters would ruin White Star Lines name, and the rioters would burn their offices to the ground in protest. Groups such as N.A.T.S. (National Association of Titanic Survivors) would form to file further lawsuits, and how many "Wannabe" survivors would milk the media circuit? E-bay would be swarming with items for sale, like $50,000 menus, (OH wait...) and suddenly it would become a judges nightmare for all the long lost relatives that were coming out of the woodwork to get their piece of the pie, or their 15 minutes of fame. and so on and so on. YIPES!! Something to think about. Colleen
 
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steve b

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Colleen-I agree with almost everything you say, except where Ismay is concerned. Remember that in modern times, in order to have a big headline seller, you also must have a man wearing black to villify. And no doubt in my mind exsists that Ismay would have been that man for reasons too numerous to list. In a way you cannot help but feel for the man, for after all it was 50% his notion to give Titanic life to begin with. It is sadly his later actions that are called into question. But im wondering who is anyone to villify anyone in such a plight? We can speculate and assume, but we all know if we were in such a realistic nightmare such as that, theres no telling how any of us would have acted. The fact of the matter is you cannot know unless you are there. That is what makes us all human
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Steve, I'm in complete agreement with you on this, due in no small part to the current fashion of villifying corperate bigwigs whether they deserve it of not. Ismay would have been crucified in such a way as to make what happened to him in 1912 look like hero worship!

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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steve b

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The sad part about it is, in todays modern times we are all too fast to jump to conclusions. The name of the game is to beat the other guy to the punch and be the paper or news outlet to come up with 'THE BIG SCOOP' AND therefore somehow bring your name into prominence. Ismay acted the way his emotions allowed him to at the time, and who are we to say whos right or wrong? Think of how badly poor William Murdoch would have been portrayed, because of the contreversy surrounding whether his last actions was that of a brave man doing all he could to avoid disaster, or was he the other story, the man who cowardly shot himself as some would have us believe? Or Smith, the poor man would have been so scrutinized for his actions. Im sure the modern media would be having a field day, trying to create its own heros and villians as it so often does. One weird trait the media has is the remarkable ability to build a hero, then tear him/her to piesces in short order. A baseball player here in Philadelphia had a telling quote about that some years ago. The all star third baseman of the Philies once remarked in Philadelphia that you have "the thrill of victory, and the agony of reading about it the next day"..Even though its a sports quote, i think it spoke volumes of the media..And remember thats going back about 20 years that quote
 
May 8, 2001
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True. I suppose the reason behind saying that Ismay woud have blended in is I figured that if someone would have slandered him he would have lawyers jump in and represent his interests, and with a man of such power, I would venture to believe that IMM/White Star would have some super lawyers and could bite back. On the other hand, the recluse he became afterwards, he may not have put up a fight, and led a life of misery being taunted by poparatzi not giving him any peace.
Although, unfortunately what sells is the Villan, and I would have to agree that Mike has a point that corporate figures are ruthlessly attacked. I guess if they had to pick a single scape goat, Ismay would be the first on their list. Colleen
 

Dave Hudson

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Apr 15, 2011
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Colleen,

From what I understand, the idea that Ismay became a recluse is a myth. He retired and was a very active member of many boards and clubs. He was no more of a hermit than any other retiree. I think he wouldn't sue because he wouldn't have the money. Sure, he was rich, but only because White Star had his back. When Titanic sank, White Star sort of turned on him. If Ismay was going down, White star didn't want to go with him.

David
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Hi Steve, if anyone wants a look at how the press acts when a high profile bloke gets into hot water, take a look at the coverage Congressman Condit is getting. I think they want him to be guilty of something whether he is or not! Pretty savage IMO, and it stands to get a lot worse. I shudder to think at what they would do to Ismay, or Captain Lord today.

The hell of it is that there are a lot of good media types who do a thorough job of fact checking and try to remain impartial. Bob Mervine comes to mind as does Senan Malony. Trouble is that ugliness seems to sell papers and draw airtime and advertisers revenues so guess who's material gets the most attention drawn to it?

Not that I have a problem with people making as many $$$$$$ as they can earn. I just wish some would be more ethical about it.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
May 8, 2001
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Dave. I read that the subject of Titanc was taboo and forbidden to be spoken around Ismay, and he enjoyed sitting on park benches and talking with people anonamously in his later years. (It makes me stop and think every time an old man strikes up a conversation who he was, or could be). Sadly, I doubt that the media would have given him the pleasure of doing so until they were forceably stopped somehow.
Given the thought of his Diabetes and him losing a leg over it makes me wonder if someone, group or organization would have stepped up to stop the bashing, or maybe our nation would take sympathy on him, and it would have turned against the media if they contiued to pick on a "One legged, diabetic man ". A disease that for the most part will end up overtaking you. All he would have to say is "K--- station hounded me to the point I had a stroke." and the family would sue, and what a field day the other stations would have in bashing their competition. I say this from a view point of living in Southern California, and watching the shark frenzy it is shamefull. If he died in 1935 (?) that was only 20+ years later. I have seen first hand what adult onset diabetes does to a person (To the point of even losing a leg) and stress/harassment/upset/anger makes the blood sugar skyrocket doing internal damage to organs. I vaguely recall that he died after a stroke, which is another after effect and problem with diabetes. I have not read too much on him and his life but I do hope that some good books come out that will clarify a few things a bit more. If anyone knows of a good book in print, pass the word and I will buy it. Thanks. Colleen
 

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