Media Sensationalism and the Development of the Mo
Media Sensationalism and the Development of the Mo

Media Sensationalism and the Development of the Mo

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  • Pages: 7 (3529 words)
  • Published: November 7, 2018
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dern Cult of TutankhamunMedia sensationalism and media hypes are things that are painfully obvious in all of our lives. Every person of this generation can remember the hype of Y2K, the insanity of the 2000 Presidential Election, the exaggerated numbers associated with Hurricane Katrina, the panic of SARS and the currently claimed explosion of the avian flu across the world. Our parents remember that the only real way to protect oneself from an atomic blast is to duck and cover. The insanity even travels to foreign countries, with Britains media hype regarding flesh-eating bugs and South Korea with its infamous fan death stories. With advancements in communication, all we have been able to do is spread lies faster. Everyone jumps to be the first to report something so that they can claim to have the exclusive news that no one else has; they want to be first instead of right.

When Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, he knew that he had found something that was going to make him famous. The public loves stories of intrigue and royalty, whether that royalty is the Queen of England or the latest Hollywood starlet, so a mysterious foreign monarch from centuries earlier was the perfect object for the media limelight. There was a general lack of information about the pharaoh, who had obviously died very young, so the media was able to fill in the blanks. What happened to Tutankhamun? He was somehow related to the famous Heretic King, who had been in all of the London papers pre

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viously, and it was generally known that the change to the new religion was resisted and mostly despised by the kings subjects. Of course then, Tutankhamun must have been murdered by angry people in his court who looked to remove all proof that the Atenist era had ever taken place!

It is the romantic view of the young pharaoh: a teenager devoted to his wife and the greatness of the Egyptian kingdom was knocked off by angry elders who wanted to take his place. Given a hasty burial in a simple noblemans tomb, he was left to the ages and never expected to be found. Mix into this the influence of movies like Freunds The Mummy and sensational findings by x-ray of the real cause of Tutankhamuns death and we have a great story.

Howard Carter discovered the famous tomb in 1922 after seasons of work under the financing of the British Lord Carnarvon, whom he had met socially in Sheikh. Nearly two decades earlier, Theodore Davies, an American lawyer-turned-archaeologist, had discovered a blue cup in the Valley of the Kings that hinted at the existence of King Tutankhamun, but not much else was discovered until January 1907 when a cache tomb, known as KV 54, was unearthed. Davies thought that he had discovered the actual tomb of Tutankhamun and by the time the discovery of KV 55 was made, most people believed that there was nothing else to be found in the Valley of the Kings until Carters monumental discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamunonce it was discovered, the press was awesome, and Carte

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went so far as to discuss a plan of campaign for the presentation of the tomb to the public.

Initial reports in the New York Times carefully noted the beauty and grandeur of Tutankhamuns tomb before the inner seals were breached, but little time was given to the pharaoh himselfall focus was on the gold, alabaster and ebony contained within the tomb. The final section of the article claimed that the discovery was going to clear up many points in history and that the final chamber of the tomb was expected to contain the remains of Tutankhamun and a number of heretics buried with him. By the end of the month, the media reported prematurely on the findings of one researcher who claimed that the Hittites came into power following the death of Tutankhamun, having married the kings widow Ankhesenamun in response to her desperate plea for a husband:

“Had I a son, would I have written about my own and my countrys shame to a foreign land? You did not believe me, and you even spoke thus to me! He who was my husband is dead. I have no son! Never shall I take a servant of mine and make him my husband! I have written to no other country. Only to you I have written. They say you have many sons; so give me one son of yours. To me he will be husband. In Egypt he will be king!”

To protect the treasures of the kingdom from these outsiders, the Egyptians piled as many treasures as possible into the tomb, creating a hiding place: all of the royal treasures were piled into Tutankhamens tomb, so that they might not fall in their entirety into the hands of the stranger. As Carter began to bring objects out of the tomb and categorise them, the media reported on every possibly unusual finding. One such finding was that of a box of human hair that the media claimed belonged to the queen of Tutankhamun despite the fact that the hair was grey. By March, Tutankhamuns name had become a household word all over the civilised world. He was somehow related to the pharaoh Akhenaten, according to the London Times, and Akhenaten was a gentle and kind ruler who tried to steer Egypt the right way towards monotheism, an action that Tutankhamun tried to undo once he came to power.

It was only nearly a month later that the New York Times reported that Tutankhamun was, in fact, a teenager at the time of his death according to likenesses and clothing found in the antechamber by that point in time, the final chamber of the tomb had not been open. Articles swirled around for two years before Carter was able to access Tutankhamuns body and due to extensive coverage in the media, half-baked stories and theories were thrown at readers to extend the life of the cult of Tutankhamun. One of the biggest media hypes was the creation of the mummys curse, said to have been the cause of death for Lord Carnarvon and his dog Susie, who mysteriously cried out at the

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