I had written before about foolhardy publicity stunts which are cheered on and encouraged by the willingness of the media to publicize them.
ABC (US) news is an example of this. Their headline proclaims:
Rescued Teen Sailor: ‘Since When Does Age Create Gigantic Waves and Storms?’
Family Happy to Hear From 16-Year-Old Plucked From Indian Ocean in Failed Attempt to Sail Solo Around World
So the sycophant US news media headlines her excuse as “…when does age create…storms”.
The answer, of course, is that it doesn’t. But the BBC questions the timing and route of her trip, pointing out:
It is the middle of winter in the southern Indian Ocean and weather conditions are currently at their most treacherous.
It’s the timing we question, and one suspects that the choice was made so that she could claim the title “the youngest sailor”.
Going by a safer route, or at a safer time to travel, might have messed up her ability to get publicity as the “youngest” sailor.
Why do I make this claim, that it was about publicity?
Well, the BBC reports:
She was attempting to beat the record set by her brother, Zac, who sailed solo around the world in 2009 at the age of 17.
One child risking their life sailing around the world at a young age to break the world record may or may not be a stunt.
But having two children do it suggests a problem with the parents.
The Australian authorities have news releases on the ongoing saga, which highlights the rescue. Here is a list of the real heroes:
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority wishes to acknowledge the cooperation of operators and authorities, both national and international, that have worked together to successfully conduct this rescue – these include Maritime RCC La Reunion, Qantas, WA Police, Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia, Defence and the three ships which are responding.
Yes, because a spoiled rich American teen wanted to get publicity in a stunt, a lot of Aussies risked their lives, and three private fishing ships risked the lives of their crew and lost time and money trying to rescue a foolhardy spoiled American teenager.
One can only hope that in this case the fishermen get a good lawyer and sue her parents.
Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She blogs at Finest Kind clinic and Fishmarket.