Tag: Africa

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Flickr a Day 213: ‘Cecil’

There are few events to take the Internet’s attention hostage like this week’s outrage over the death of a 13 year-old Zimbabwean lion. Vince O’Sullivan photographed the proud animal one year ago today—Aug. 1, 2014. He updated the caption to add context better coming from him than me.

“This is, of course, ‘Cecil’—the lion famously shot and wounded by crossbow fired by American dentist Walter Palmer in July 2015 and then shot, killed, skinned, and beheaded for trophies two days later”, Vince explains. “Living in a nature reserve, Cecil was completely inured to people in vehicles that didn’t interfere with him or his prey. So approaching him closely was never difficult, a daily occurrence for him and something he paid no attention to”. 

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When the Crowd Roars

The Internet backlash against dentist Walter Palmer for killing Cecil the lion is one of the best examples of mob journalism ever. The narrative spreading across the InterWebs is some ways well-meaning but in many more is destructive. Meanwhile, the force of collective-will tempts too many journalists to join the mob opinion, when they should stand aside and offer objective and responsible reporting.

Before writing another word, I must praise National Geographic for the best reporting about this event. The magazine offers broader perspective and, more importantly, puts big game hunting into larger context, while taking an objective tone. The raging mob’s perspective is myopic, and news sites supporting it fail the public good.