News spread like wildfire this morning over the botched demolition of the former Hoagie City that collapsed onto an occupied Salvation Army on 22nd and Market. Tragically one person died, while 12 others sustained minor injuries, and a remaining person is in unknown condition.
CNN did a fine job chasing the ambulance this morning causing a storm of comments criticizing the United States' aging infrastructure, with many going as far as comparing Philadelphia and the entire country to Bangladesh.
What's obviously mindboggling about the age of the internet and its media is its audience's utter lack of respect for tragedy. With a 24 hour newsfeed and every intern's Google Alert set to go off when the word "collapse" appears, it's not surprising to see this making the national circuit's Breaking News.
What's sick are its readers' detachment from very real situations that unfortunately can and do happen all over this and every other country, regardless of what "world" that country is classified.
Before the dust settled at 22nd and Market, rampant trolls were taking to their laptops to cite this as "proof" that America is fast becoming a third world nation, despite the fact that they're bitching from a laptop in a coffee house in that same country.
From tragedies like this to tornadoes in Oklahoma, the campaign to expose a nation's flaws are instantaneous to blame everything from the President many in the campaign elected to the wrath of God on gay marriage in another state; and the media is a worthy adversary when each of it journalists are morbidly hoping to be the one to break the next 9-11.
Unlike the United Kingdom, those in the United States have not yet come to terms with just how yellow our journalism has become. The unfortunate parents and grandparents who reluctantly joined Facebook that assume CNN.com is synonymous with a 1982 USA Today are feeling the wrath of a generation who callously view the world from behind a computer monitor.
I'm certainly not saying blogs like this are the answer. Philly Bricks is my pet exercise in extreme narcissism, unadvertised to my friends, and available only to those who wish to sift through the crap to find their own facts or simply laugh at my recycled Seinfeld jokes.
But to those who've come to realize that the trifecta of national tabloids - CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News - is about as objective as the Huffington Post, unfunded homeschooled journalism is quickly becoming the informative source of choice. At least you know what you're getting into.
I guess my point is, let's keep it in perspective people. Someone died today. We're lucky to live in a country that doesn't see that loss times the thousands with every earthquake, flood, or tornado. We're lucky we are not Bangladesh. But one loss is one too many, and family and friends experienced loss nonetheless. There are plenty of platforms for political statements, and the tragedy at 22nd and Market is not it.
*update: a second fatality has been reported.