Kevin Myers: Disasters -- where would showbiz be without them?
It's hard to know where to start when human catastrophe occurs, and the breast-beaters come out of the woodwork. I do not make light of such calamities: only the sick and the wicked do that.
But we are still entitled to feel slightly queasy when disasters are turned into yet another showbiz caring competition, and even the standards of basic journalism -- which are pretty negotiable at the best of times -- are suspended in an agreeable haze of emoting and hand-wringing.
Take yesterday's dispatch from Reuters, which quoted "Haitian authorities" as saying that the earthquake had killed "up to 200,000 people and left up to three million hurt or homeless". It added that "Haiti's government reported 609,000 persons without shelter in the wider Port-au- Prince area".