Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Media Coverage of Katrina...Half-full or half-empty?

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit thinks that the media (mis?)coverage of Katrina "hampered rescue efforts and may well have cost lives." Doesn't it just seem like the media salivates over that kind of thing...really negative events that make them feel like they are doing the important work of informing the American public about what's "really going on"? Moreso if it reflects poorly on Bush. **Note: the media does do good things...and it serves a vital role in society...it's the media culture behind it that clouds its vision.

Lou Dolinar, at RealClearPolitics, focuses on what the media didn't cover....and what it did cover but that never actually happened...it's interesting reading....

Remember the dozens, maybe hundreds, of rapes, murders, stabbings and
deaths resulting from official neglect at the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina?
The ones that
never happened, as even the national media later admitted?
Sure, we all remember the original reporting, if not the
back-pedaling.

Here's another one: Do you remember the dramatic TV footage of National Guard
helicopters landing at the Superdome as soon as Katrina passed, dropping off
tens of thousands saved from certain death? The corpsmen running with
stretchers, in an echo of M*A*S*H, carrying the survivors to ambulances and the
medical center? About how the operation, which also included the Coast Guard,
regular military units, and local first responders, continued for more than a
week?

Me neither. Except that it did happen, and got at best an
occasional, parenthetical mention in the national media. The National Guard had
its headquarters for Katrina, not just a few peacekeeping troops, in what the
media portrayed as the pit of Hell. Hell was one of the safest places to be in
New Orleans, smelly as it was. The situation was always under control, not
surprisingly because the people in control were always there.

From the Dome, the Louisiana Guard's main command ran at least
2,500 troops who rode out the storm inside the city, a dozen emergency shelters,
200-plus boats, dozens of high-water vehicles, 150 helicopters, and a triage and
medical center that handled up to 5,000 patients (and delivered 7 babies). The
Guard command headquarters also coordinated efforts of the police, firefighters
and scores of volunteers after the storm knocked out local radio, as well as
other regular military and other state Guard units.

Jack Harrison, a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Virginia, cited "10,244 sorties flown, 88,181 passengers moved, 18,834 cargo tons hauled, 17,411 saves" by air. Unlike the politicians, they had a working chain of command that commandeered more relief aid from other Guard units outside the state. From day one.

***********

It's so easy for the media to pretty much say whatever they want and get away with it...because they don't really have a counterweight...except in brains like yours, while you're reading articles like these.

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