Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Katrina and the Media

Last week was full of news about White House briefings on Katrina. It was shown that Bush was told in advance that the hurricane's damage would be severe. Former FEMA director Michael Brown gave interviews saying that he told everyone how bad things were and waited for the army to come to the rescue, but they never took over.

This all plays to the preception that the government was slow to respond to Katrina, that it was caught off-guard, and that Bush was to blame. There are problems with this narrative.

Popular Mechanics took a look at Katrina and the response. They debunk several common myths about the storm. The first one is that the government was slow to respond.
In fact, the response to Hurricane Katrina was by far the largest--and fastest-rescue effort in U.S. history, with nearly 100,000 emergency personnel arriving on the scene within three days of the storm's landfall.
Reporting on Katrina never matched reality and the MSM is now drawing on the preception that they reported instead of what was actually happening on the ground. Also, Katrina was far more than New Orleans but most of the reporting has been limited to that single city. Rescue operations in New Orleans were slowed because of the MSM. After they reported that people were shooting at rescue helicopters, the rescuers pulled back until they had ground support. This happened with other aspects of the rescue operation, also. Reports of lawlessness slowed rescuers who thought that their lives were in danger.

It is far too late for the truth. People will remember vivid images of reporters standing in hip-deep water while saying that the government forsook people on the basis of color. Little of this was true but it made for great ratings.

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