Compassion fatigue: how the media sell disease, famine, war and death

Moeller, S.D. (1999). Compassion fatigue: how the media sell disease, famine, war and death. New York: Routledge.

In this book, Moeller investigates how television news, newspapers and magazines have covered international issues of war, catastrophes, famine and disease and the impact of this coverage on the audience of the news media. Compassion fatigue is the key concept of this book. The author blames the media for the overexposure of reports from catastrophic places in the world, because this overstimulation helps the audience to feel bored. She also describes the devastating effect of compassion fatigue in the way of a lack of attention and no interest in the serious issues of the world. Moeller describes specific issues, like famine in Ethiopia, Sudan and Somalia, the genocide in Rwanda and the “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia. Her insights on the field of global compassion and compassion fatigue, especially the specific cases in her book, are very useful for the theoretical framework of my thesis. She also explains the importance of awareness of expressions of compassion fatigue for the society.