Outrageous Hype

[Imported from Whale Oil Beef Hooked on Blogger]

Some in the media in the US are now having a crack at their brothers over the outrageous reporting of Huricane Katrina. Some are downright murderous in their opprobrium of the reporting. Here are some quotes from the article.

There is no doubt that Katrina was an incredible tragedy, but it was nowhere near what was reported. What is true is that the sloppy coverage of Katrina’s devastation will leave its mark on the media and on America for years to come.

For weeks, the media dumped blame on FEMA, President Bush and the rest of the federal government for conditions worthy of a war zone. In a Sept. 12 cover story, Newsweek included this ironic comment: “How the system failed is a tangled story – ” Actually, it was countless tangled stories – news stories.

But state and local officials from Louisiana’s governor on down didn’t stamp out the sparks of rumor – they spread them like arsonists. Democratic New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin claimed on the Sept. 5 “Today” show that “it wouldn’t be unreasonable to have 10,000.” A month after the storm, the Louisiana death toll stands at 896.

Journalism is supposed to be a first draft of history. In the days that followed Katrina, the media reported it like it was the script for “Fear Factor.”

The media were right about a key aspect of Katrina: The system did break down. Politicians made a bad situation worse and the media’s 24-7 news cycle piled rumor after rumor on top of that. The media spend every day demanding accountability from politicians, businesspeople and everyone they encounter. Now that they are having a rockslide in their own glass house, who is there to all them on it? The bigger question is: Could we have another journalistic catastrophe like this again? The unfortunate answer is, probably yes.

 


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