Birth Defect Awareness Killed by Sensational Media

Guest Blogger - J. C. Kuehn Miller

Originally posted at http://jckuehnmiller.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/birth-defect-awareness-killed-by-sensational-media/

 

Birth Defect Awareness Killed by Sensational Media

Sensational reporting is the death of certainty and social awareness. The reporters seek to please their editors. The editors wish to please the paper’s owners. The owners want to make money. The public needs to be amused. Amusement is the undoing of truth.

 

enhanced-24058-1413910781-22On October 17th, 2014, Christian Faith Benge collapsed and died in an Ohio haunted house attraction. The mainstream media picked up the story several days later. The problem? They completely ignored the actual cause of her collapse. Christian was born with Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) along with other birth defects. These complications ultimately led to her enlarged heart stopping in the middle of the Halloween attraction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CDH AWARENESS

CDH is a birth defect found in 1 out of every 2500 babies. It has a 50% mortality rate. The cause is not known.

Non-profit organization, CHERUBS- The Association of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Research, Awareness, and Support, is headquartered in Wake Forest, NC. For 19 years now, CHERUBS has advocated for and aided families with CDH babies. By completely ignoring the root cause of Christian’s death, the media struck a punishing blow to organizations like CHERUBS.

Instead of informing the public about this deadly defect, news sources spun the story to advertise Halloween activities. Instead of reporting the facts, papers opted for click-bait styled headlines. Instead of giving potential donors information, journalists capitalized on the real emotion felt by everyone hurt by this event.

Sensational headlines like the following did nothing but stir up strife for Christian’s family and friends.

  • “Scared to Death? Teen Has Fatal Heart Attack at Ohio Haunted House” by Hasani Gittens (NBC News)
  • “Did a Haunted House Scare This Teen to Death?” by Leah Rocketto (PopSugar)
  • “Ohio Teen With ‘Time Bomb’ Heart Condition Fatally Collapses While Walking Through Haunted House” by Rida Ahmed (HNGN)
  • “Family Denies Teen Was ‘Scared to Death’ at Haunted House” by Gillian Mohney (ABC News via Good Morning America)
  • “Christian Faith Benge Dies After Heart Stops In Haunted House” by Andres Jauregui (Huffington Post)
  • “Can You Be Scared to Death at a Halloween Haunted House?” by INSIDE EDITION

In that last article by INSIDE EDITION, the mother, Jean Benge, is quoted saying, “It’s not fair to us and the family to read the awful articles that she was scared to death,” yet they still chose to publish the article with that same incendiary phrase.

The blame does not solely rest on the media. They have money to make. The public starves for entertainment. They seek distractions from the reality of everyday life. Caught up in sensational phenomena like we saw with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, the public makes Idiocracy reminiscent videos rather than educating themselves about the actual disease.

TAKING BACK THE MEDIA

To regain ethical journalism, we must understand the symbiotic relationship between the media and the public. We, as a reading community, need to hold news outlets accountable for the quality of facts-based reporting. Likewise, the media needs to encourage our society to look at the facts, to think critically, and to embrace an awareness of their neighbors. If we can agree to fulfill this idea of accountability, then our social consciousness will be more in harmony than any other time in recent history.

In order to understand the weight of how detrimental fear-mongering and click-driven journalism really is, we must first look outward and then inward. Look outward to Christian Benge. Look at her life. Look at how hard she fought for 16 years. Imagine her mother, Jean Benge. For 16 years, she watched her beautiful daughter grow up- against all odds. Be empathetic to their suffering.

Now, look at the headlines. Look at how the news sources dealt so heartlessly with her story. How they turned a blind eye toward the cause of Christian’s death. How they could have brought CDH to the public eye. How would you like to be remembered as the girl who was “scared to death?” No, let us remember Christian Benge how we would want to be remembered: as an individual who succumbed to a lifelong struggle with a vastly unknown birth defect.

SAVE THE CHERUBS

Keep your thoughts and prayers with the Benge family. Keep your thoughts and prayers with all the CDH families across the globe.

If you want more information or want to donate toward CDH Awareness, Support, and Research, visit the CHERUBS website.

 

News from CHERUBS

2018 Light Ups for CDH Awareness Day

Buildings and Landmarks in the United States and Canada lit up blue, pink and yellow on April 19th for CDH Awareness Day.  The CN Tower will light up on April 28th in Toronto, Canada.

The following locations lit up for CDH Awareness Day in 2018:

Read more...

CDH International Telethon on April 19th

On CDH Awareness Day, April 19th, CDH International interviewed families, researchers, doctors and volunteers as they all shared stories, tears and trials as we raised awareness and money for Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia via live video on Facebook.  We had guests live from around the globe, truly an international day of CDH Awarneess.  The goal was to reach $50,000 over 15 hours during a live Facebook telethon.  Donors were able to make a donation by calling in, donating on any of the member's Facebook telethon fundraisers or directly on the website.  As the telethon closed, CDH International surpassed the goal bringing in $51,388.  This number is on the rise, where the final total will be announced on April 30th.  Facebook fundraisers for the telethon are still ongoing and the charity waits for any checks arriving by mail.

Read more...

2018 Salt Lake City Bees Game for CHERUBS

On Saturday, April 21, 2018, at Smith's Ballpark in Salt Lake City, Utah, CHERUBS held a CDH Awareness Ballgame. This was the 5th annual CDH Awareness ball game for the charity.  The game has been a yearly celebration of CDH Awareness Month. CHERUBS members, family and friends got together for a great night of baseball, meeting other CDH families and raised a ton of CDH Awareness. Abby Rush, 15 year old CDH survivor, got to throw in the 1st pitch of the night and kick off the celebration for the charity.  Wearing her wings, Abby threw the 1st pitch like a pro and raised a ton of CDH Awareness.

Read more...

 
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2017 - News from CHERUBS

2018 Light Ups for CDH Awareness Day

Buildings and Landmarks in the United States and Canada lit up blue, pink and yellow on April 19th for CDH Awareness Day.  The CN Tower will light up on April 28th in Toronto, Canada.

The following locations lit up for CDH Awareness Day in 2018:

Read more...

CDH International Telethon on April 19th

On CDH Awareness Day, April 19th, CDH International interviewed families, researchers, doctors and volunteers as they all shared stories, tears and trials as we raised awareness and money for Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia via live video on Facebook.  We had guests live from around the globe, truly an international day of CDH Awarneess.  The goal was to reach $50,000 over 15 hours during a live Facebook telethon.  Donors were able to make a donation by calling in, donating on any of the member's Facebook telethon fundraisers or directly on the website.  As the telethon closed, CDH International surpassed the goal bringing in $51,388.  This number is on the rise, where the final total will be announced on April 30th.  Facebook fundraisers for the telethon are still ongoing and the charity waits for any checks arriving by mail.

Read more...

2018 Salt Lake City Bees Game for CHERUBS

On Saturday, April 21, 2018, at Smith's Ballpark in Salt Lake City, Utah, CHERUBS held a CDH Awareness Ballgame. This was the 5th annual CDH Awareness ball game for the charity.  The game has been a yearly celebration of CDH Awareness Month. CHERUBS members, family and friends got together for a great night of baseball, meeting other CDH families and raised a ton of CDH Awareness. Abby Rush, 15 year old CDH survivor, got to throw in the 1st pitch of the night and kick off the celebration for the charity.  Wearing her wings, Abby threw the 1st pitch like a pro and raised a ton of CDH Awareness.

Read more...