Is mocking someone with cancer funny?
If you are on the Internet the last two months, there have been thousands of tweets and memes that have made fun of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who is dying from cancer. That is bound to happen, and most of the content being shared is pretty tasteless. However, does publishing a story about this content and treating the article like a lighthearted look into the “funny side of things” appropriate for a news outlet? We don’t think so.
Today Miami’s VOXXI NEWS did a light piece about “humorous” pictures and tweets about Chávez’s condition. Instead of giving the story a bit of context and focusing on how tasteless the Internet can be when it comes to criticizing people, the article read like a “Best of Hugo Chávez Dying from Cancer Pictures and Tweets” and its intent missed the point. Hey, kids, let’s do an Internet meme story and have a chuckle about a man who is dying from cancer! Because images like these are flipping HILARIOUS!!!
Does justifying people’s sick humor on the Internet the way to go? Probably not. A better angle, if indeed VOXXI thought this was an important story to cover, would have been to explore how ugly and cruel the Internet can be. Yes, we know many people detest Chávez (just like many people admire him), but is writing a story that condones people making fun of someone’s serious illness really appropriate for a news outlet? How about a little balance the next time you do a story like this?