Another Katrina myth down the drain

[Imported from Whale Oil Beef Hooked on Blogger]

Remember this report

Flooding from Hurricane Katrina’s Monday landfall could wreak catastrophe on New Orleans, overwhelming the city’s water and sewage systems and leaving survivors in a bowl of toxic soup, a top hurricane expert said.

What the f**k would he know, he is an expert.

What about this report.

The devastation of Hurricane Katrina has created a vast toxic soup that stretches across south-eastern Louisiana and Mississippi, and portends the arrival of an environmental disaster to rival the awe-inspiring destruction of property and human life over the past week.

Toxicologists and public health experts warned yesterday that pumping billions of gallons of contaminated water from the streets of New Orleans back into the Gulf of Mexico – the only viable option if the city is ever to return to even a semblance of its former self -would have a crippling effect on marine and animal life, compromise the wetlands that form the first line of resistance to future hurricanes, and carry deleterious consequences for human health throughout the region.

Utter s**t again from the media.

What has actually happened?

The floodwater that covered New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was not unusually toxic and was “typical of storm water runoff in the region,” according to a study published yesterday.

Most of the gasoline-derived substances in the water evaporated quickly, and the bacteria from sewage also declined over time, the scientist leading the study said. The water’s chief hazard was from metals that are potentially toxic to fish. However, no fish kills have been reported in Lake Pontchartrain, where the water that once covered 80 percent of the city was pumped.

Then there is this comment from an asute blogger.

Of course, this is good news for the people of New Orleans who had to suffer from exposure to the water, but other than that, it makes little difference. The damage caused to structures comes from the water itself, as well as the mud and silt that come along with it. The rot that sets into structures throughout the basin will likely require total or near-total reconstruction efforts.

It does, however, demonstrate the toxic combination of hyperbolic media and sensational events. Not content with reporting the news that happened before their eyes, media outlets had to reach beyond the news to report events that never happened, all without doing even basic research to determine the veracity of their reports. How difficult would it have been for NBC or the New York Times to get a test of the water before unleashing reports on the so-called toxic soup? How about getting reporters to verify accounts of rapes and murders by the score before airing such rumors to a repulsed nation?

How many people did these reports turn away who might otherwise have offered assistance?

Laughably, the media gave itself a big pat on the back within days of the Katrina disaster, declaring themselves vindicated after a year of CBS memo debacles and Eason Jordan embarrassments. Only much later can we see that they learned nothing over that past year and have moved themselves even closer to the National Enquirer in terms of credibility. Instead of congratulating themselves, the media needs to eliminate the hysterics that drive the news coverage during unfolding catastrophes to make sure that they don’t contribute even more damage to the victims and the nation.

One can only agree with Captain Ed.

 


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