Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Katrina coverage a year later... still biased

The coverage of Katrina a year later is as bad as it was when it happened. Good grief. I haven't heard one word about the things discussed in this article at Investor'

"Take the idea that the federal response was "inadequate" or "incompetent." Granted, that might be said of some of FEMA's efforts, which were poor. But a big story that never got told was how heroically the National Guard (and Coast Guard) performed before, during and after the storm, saving tens of thousands of lives. The mainstream media basically ignored this.
As reported, the Guard had 2,500 troops in New Orleans during the hurricane. It pre-positioned thousands of liters of water, ready-to-eat meals and other supplies at the Superdome and around the city. The Guard was ready.

Right after the storm hit, Guard troops embarked on one of the largest relief efforts. It included, as a Guard spokesman put it, "10,244 sorties flown, 88,181 passengers moved, 18,834 cargo tons hauled (and) 17,411 saves (of stranded and endangered victims)" by helicopter.
The Guard had more than 200 boats and 150 copters working. Its makeshift medical center at the Superdome handled 5,000 patients and delivered seven babies.

By some estimates, the Guard saved 50,000 lives — maybe more. If a big deal was made of this, we didn't hear about it. We had to search out this information on blogs and through government Web sites. It should have been splashed across TV screens and the front pages of our nation's media. It was a truly heroic moment.

What did we get instead? A lot of false tales, half-myths, rumors and innuendo retailed as news, including:

• Speculation that 100,000 people would die (actually, about 1,300 did, which is bad enough).
• Rumors of dozens of bodies stacked in freezers, killings and rapes of babies in the Superdome (out of thousands there, just six people died, four of natural causes).
• Reports of people shooting at rescue helicopters (that never happened, the Guard says).
• Stories playing up the racial-victim angle. (As a subsequent study showed, African-Americans had fewer Katrina deaths than other groups, based on population.)
• Repeated claims the federal response was "slow." (As the Gateway Pundit blog noted, "The federal response here was faster than (Hurricane) Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne.")

We could go on. Days after Hurricane Katrina, the media got caught up in a frenzy of self-congratulation, lauding themselves for their courage and willingness, as some at the time put it, to "speak truth to power."

The real truth is that Katrina wasn't the media's finest hour. As we've seen with recent Mideast coverage, the media have gotten into the strange habit of distorting the news — like reporting deaths of Hezbollah operatives as "civilians" and faking war photographs."

The facts about our brave National Guards being ignored is especially maddening. It happened last year and now it's happening again as we do over it all again. Ugh.

via RCP