Pink Phizz

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The media inaccuracies had consequences in the disaster zone.

Well, are we surprised? On Drudge, it is reported that, lo and behold, the media went into a frenzy and flooded the news outlets with rumors, unverified reports, particularly at the overcrowded Superdome and Convention Center.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune on Monday described inflated body counts, unverified "rapes," and unconfirmed sniper attacks as among examples of "scores of myths about the dome and Convention Center treated as fact by evacuees, the media and even some of New Orleans' top officials."

Journalists and officials who have reviewed the Katrina disaster blamed the inaccurate reporting in large measure on the breakdown of telephone service, which prevented dissemination of accurate reports to those most in need of the information. Race may have also played a factor.

The media fanned the rumors, reporting everything from a baby being found in a trashcan; sharks; and perhaps, the worse how there were hundreds of bodies stacked up in the Superdome. Now, after all the harm has been done, we know that - a 7-year-old being raped and murdered at the Superdome, roving bands of armed gang members attacking the helpless, and dozens of bodies being shoved into a freezer at the Convention Center - never happened.

Fox News:...issued an "alert" as talk show host Alan Colmes reiterated reports of "robberies, rapes, carjackings, riots and murder. Violent gangs are roaming the streets at night, hidden by the cover of darkness." It never happened.

The Los Angeles Times:...the next day led with, that National Guard troops "took positions on rooftops, scanning for snipers and armed mobs as seething crowds of refugees milled below, desperate to flee. Gunfire crackled in the distance." It never happened.

London's Evening Standard:...invoked the future-world fantasy film "Mad Max" to describe the scene and threw in a "Lord of the Flies" allusion for good measure. And we all know, it wasn't like that.

"I don't think you can overstate how big of a disaster New Orleans is," said Kelly McBride, ethics group leader at the Poynter Institute, a Florida school for professional journalists. "But you can imprecisely state the nature of the disaster. Then you draw attention away from the real story, the magnitude of the destruction, and you kind of undermine the media's credibility. No shit Sherlock.

Well, well, well, somehow THIS never seem to have gotten reported.
Louisiana National Guard Col. Thomas Beron, who headed security at the Superdome, said that for every complaint, "49 other people said, 'Thank you, God bless you.' " Could it be because it was the truth? Truth and not sensationalism?

Now that the media has done more damage than Katrina and Rita rolled into one, as far as destroying any remaining visage of respectablility that there might have been remaining for the media, whether it be print, audio, or visual, when are we going to hear some retraction? When are we, perhaps, going to hear some apologies from the media for making complete asses (arses) of themselves?

I don't think I'm gonna hold my breath...are you?


At 6:46 PM , Blogger Shooting Parrots said...

From personal experience, I blame the move towards 24 hour news. New editors absolutely must move the story not just on the hour, but bulletin to bulletin so the pressure is on to report everything they're told as if it's gospel. When this is pointed out to them later, they'll look sheepish if you're lucky, but they will never, ever admit that they got it wrong and were just fulfilling their "public service" role. Arseholes.

At 11:56 PM , Blogger Fred said...

Thanks for pointing this out. I've never seen a retraction or further explanation of what really happened.

I was still under the impression that most of this stuff actually happened. And, I read a whole bunch!

At 8:39 AM , Blogger "Alice" said...

Polly and Fred: It's rather unbelieveable isn't it?

At 9:47 PM , Blogger Molicious said...

I certainly won't be holding my breath either. I blame it on Geraldo Rivera. He's a total media whore. But I can't stand him so my views might be skewed. lol

At 4:35 AM , Blogger Mike's America said...

It's too late. The damage is done. I had a leftie trying to push the video which most of us have already seen of Geraldo at the Convention Center screaming about how bad it was.

Of course it was bad. But it wasn't total and complete anarchy.

What WAS bad, was the fact that the Governor refused to allow the Red Cross and Salvation Army into the Convention Center or the Superdome and that story was mostly ignored.

The hype played right into the "Bush is to blame" crap and you can't expect the left to stop going back to that gold mine.

Truth isn't important to the left, only power, at any price.


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