Why Does My Son Deserve Media Coverage?

by Debora Harding


Kadian Harding Washington Post

I have been disturbed by the politically hostile reaction I've witnessed regarding the press coverage of lives lost in Paris -- why should the victims of the Paris massacre receive so much more attention when there are regular terrorist attacks going on around the world. 

This sort of thinking is deeply offensive to those suffering grief and the question should be a non-starter.  Imagine this being asked personally of a parent who has just lost their child in the Bataclan seige.

If we want to examine "the news that is not in the news", something many activists dedicate their lives to, then let it be another time.

We were incredibly fortunate in our public support and the media coverage we received in the loss of our fourteen year old son, Kadian in his tragic bicycle accident.  It has made a huge difference to our being able to get out of bed in the morning.  His website and Facebook fan page still receive hits every day, and there isn't a morning when I open my emails and see more comments on geotags that have travelled around the world, that I don't smile.

Instead of the taboo of silence that often surrounds those having to deal with death, I've been met with the grace of media coverage that gives me the courage to not stuff my grief in my gut every time I walk out the door. WHAT A GIFT - but still, in the face of Kadian's loss - NOTHING.  Our lives were destroyed, and three and half years later, are only beginning to resemble sanity. 

The thought that someone might ask "why do you deserve more media support/attention than any other family who has lost a child, why does Kadian deserve more press . . . ?" is god awful.

Thomas is a writer, I am a writer, and we have both worked in mainstream and alternative media. I am aware that our skills have given us a unique platform.

But for well-meaning people to frame a question about media values with 'why so much media coverage for Paris victims?" seems to grossly negate the character of normally generous people.  

I'd ask those concerned about the coverage to pause for a moment of silence before a public rant.