In Susan Moeller’s “Compassion Fatigue: How the Media Sell Disease, Famine, War and Death,” I could find only sad truth. Compassion fatigue, the gradual lessening of compassion and empathy over time, can be directly linked to the media, and how we selectively and inconsistently cover disasters. The most horrifying quote that rang true for me, especially in cases of refugee populations, said, “Sometimes the sickest case is the most hopeless case, and receives little more than a Band-Aid of care—just enough so the hemorrhaging is not embarrassing.”
In my mind, refugees are often placed in the under reported category, as a result of two of the causes of compassion fatigue. Too many refugees, camps, asylum seekers, and horrible refugee conditions exist today. The situation is too overwhelming for many to comprehend even where to start the coverage or the aid, and therefore, as Moeller mentions, sometimes the short-term, quick fixes get more attention because of their allegedly simpler solutions.
How [American media sources] typically cover crises helps us to feel overstimulated and bored all at once. Source
The other reason Moeller accredits to compassion fatigue is the disaster’s lack of a relationship with the general population. The majority of Americans don’t have family or a personal connection to Syria, so the ability to emphathize with the refugees is much more difficult. Even immigrants from Africa, fleeing across the Mediterranean, an often fatal journey, are not being heavily covered by European countries, who are facing compassion fatigue along their own border.