Friday, September 02, 2005


Media coverage of New Orleans

This story about the people trapped in the convention center is really horrible: dead bodys next to the living, no food, a 10-year-old girl raped. They even claim that the looters where actually distributing food they had looted.
Looting, Snipers Mar New Orleans Evacuation
Are you, dear readers, hearing the same kind of coverage? What's the overall take on non-NPR/NYTimes media?

The next story talks about civilians "shooting" at rescue crews? Again, have you all heard this kind of thing.
Engineers Face Mammoth Challenge

I haven't heard the story about the 10 year old girl. However, the situation seems chaotic enough for such horrors to happen. I also had not heard about the sniper attacks. I know that other media has focused on distinguishing between types of looters -- those who are "looting" food and water and those who are looting stereo equipment. The typical "tough on crime" ass-hole commentators (CNN's Nancy Grace) couldn't see the difference at first. If people are taking food to distribute it to others, that is the only good news coming out of New Orleans. I've read several other accounts that have made analogies to Pompeii. I find it hard to imagine that the city will be gone, but it will certainly never be the same place.

The consensus seems to be developing that the governmental response, particularly at the federal level, has been horrendous. The fact that normally quiescent reporters are posing federal officials tough questions strikes me as confirmation of this. I wonder if it is really posse comitatus that is preventing a rapid and effective federal response. The situation just seems to be getting worse by the day.

One of our associates closed on a house in New Orleans last week. He was en route with all of his furniture. Luckily, the truck stopped short of New Orleans. The house was near a levy and is presumed to be destroyed.
CNN has turned properly sour like NPR and NY Times. Thursday was a real turning point for them. New Orleans though, is ripe for exageration and rumor with no media and a lot of free time. CNN keeps talking about the dead bodies littering the Convention Center and the only fixed number I have heard is 10 dead bodies there and that was given by a refugee there who seemed pretty cool-headed. 10 bodies is nasty certainly but it doesn't sound as salacious as the "littered with dead bodies" the media seems to report. Also, as of yesterday the "rape" thing was making big news. Everybody reporting mentioned rapes but no one interviewed knew firsthand about the incident. It's quite possible the rape did happen but it's also quite possible it's a fabrication.

What is fascinating to me is to see how the different stations handle the federal response. CNN has joined the NY Times (did you get the Brooks piece I sent you) in blasting the Federal government for its lack of response. The Feds keep saying how the storm hit them out of the blue and the real media keep asking what the hell FEMA does in it's free time and why the hell it's so hard locating a few buses. It's really shocking that the folks at FEMA didn't have refugee shelters thought out ahead of time for this area since the gulf and lower atlantic coast are THE areas that keep getting smacked.

Fox News on the other hand has taken a completely different course. I don't make it a habit of watching that pap but decided yesterday to get a taste of it. I watched for a couple of hours of their regular news coverage ( i.e. not Bill "I'm the Second Coming" O'Reilly). It was surprising how big of puppets they are. They were reporting that the Federal effort was making the situation better by the minute. They were reporting that the storm came out of nowhere and blind-sided the area (what Mississippi's Republican Governor contends. Guess he doesn't have a television). They had cutaways where refugees getting to Houston were thanking Bush. And perhaps most inline with their reputation they were harping on the "looters" while running reel after reel of black people carrying lord knows what (From the pictures it's not obvious to me whether the sacks they are carrying isn't their personal possessions). Like Bush they are trying to make the looters the enemies in this story despite the fact that most of the "looting" is to get food and water to keep from dieing or clothes to replace soaked and ruined shit that the federal government should be providing them free of charge. Even the few assholes who are running rampant who the hell cares if they steal a car or some Nikes or a flat screen TV. Good luck getting that shit out of the city and the owners are going to collect an insurance check on the stuff whether it's stolen or not given the destruction there. I haven't quite figured out the shooting at chopers and buses but I would be willing to bet that it's just as likely a manifestation of frustration at the shitty federal response and its accompanying desperation as it is a manifestation of lawlessness.
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