Ed Driscoll

Katrina Snuff Films: This Is CNN

CNN’s situational ethics swing into action again. Glenn Reynolds writes:

THE PRESS WANTS TO SHOW BODIES from Katrina. It didn’t want to show bodies, or jumpers, on 9/11, for fear that doing so would inflame the public.

It’s amusing to go back and look at the media’s mindset back then:

“The question is, are we informing or titillating and causing unnecessary grief?” ABC News chief David Westin told the New York Times just days after the Sept. 11 attack. Explaining why his network decided not to show any pictures of people leaping to their deaths at the World Trade Center, he said, “Our responsibility is to inform the American public of what’s going on, and, in going the next step, is it necessary to show people plunging to their death?”

If it wasn’t necessary to show people plunging to their death, why is it necessary to show them after they drowned? (Or as Scott Ott parodiesa CNN spokesman, “Our viewers have a right to see the decaying flesh of each and every citizen who perished from lack of federal government assistance”.)

Incidentally, has anybody asked Mayor Nagin or Governor Blanco what they think of this?

It’s even more astonishing, coming from a network which for over a decade whitewashed images of Saddam Hussein’s atrocities, just to maintain a “LIVE FROM BAGHDAD” line chromakeyed on the screen while their reporter spoke in front of Saddam’s Ministry of Information. Broadcasting the same lies from Saddam Hussein’s propaganda ministers they could have just as easily have picked up on any news wire and reported from CNN’s facilities in Atlanta–along with some thoughts on what the true story might be.

I wonder if next time Hugh Hewitt has someone high up at CNN on his show, he could ask them, “In light of your decision to show the bodies of Katrina victims, do you think it was a mistake for networks like yourself to hide the images of victims of Saddam Hussein or 9/11? Really? Well, why didn’t you at least show the latter on its fourth anniversary?”

Which is tomorrow, incidentally.

Update: Speaking of Hugh, in his latest post, he writes:

There are many failures to be investigated in the aftermath of Katrina, including why the evacuation left as many as 100,000 in the city, why the prepositioning of law enforcement and national guard in the Dome and Convention Center was inadequate, why relief supplies from the Red Cross and Salvation Army were blocked, and why FEMA seemed so slow to take control from the locals obviously overwhelmed by the size of the storm and its devastation.But there’s at least a day of hearings on MSM’s role in this fiasco as well, from the question of the responsibility of flooding the area with reporters who, while they encourage people to “take cover” or evacuate, are in fact doing neither, to the relentless peddling of the most sensational of stories and estimates.

It will be interesting to see if Congress will have enough of a spine to include the media in its hearings.

Another Update: In a post titled, “The MSM Have Gone Insane“, John Podhoretz writes:

If leaders of the mainstream media — from my old friend Jim Kelly of Time magazine to Jonathan Klein of CNN genuinely think the American people want to see bodies of corpses caused by the levee floods, they have really, really lost it. Instapundit points out that they chose to stop showing horrifying images from 9/11, like the jumpers, because they were worried about inflaming people. But these images are likely only to cause people to be physically ill at worst, and the loss of privacy they will represent to those who died will cause the viewing public to blame the media for showing them in the first place. Parents will not be able to watch the news in their own house, or bring newspapers and magazines into their houses….If the MSM want to continue to have a cow about the unfairness of not being able to show bodies returning from Iraq, by all means let them make a scene about that. But this is a bizarre and repulsive twist on that.

Exactly. Jim Geraghy recently wrote:

A certain friend – won’t say his name, but it rhymes with “Shmam” – is getting really, really fired up about this, says he’s angrier now than at any point during last year’s campaign.If there’s anything we’ve learned from the ugly during-and-post-Katrina debate, it’s that these folks with whom we disagree so strongly… well, they’re gone, Shmam. Assimilated into the Kosorg Cube. There’s no point in arguing with them. They have concluded the disaster is Bush’s fault, and nothing you say will dissuade them. Certainly not this report that the state government refused to allow the Red Cross to bring food, water, blankets and hygiene products to the Superdome and Convention Center right after the hurricane hit.

I was talking to a wise, politically connected blogger yesterday, who reminded me how much of the American population doesn’t follow politics, particularly in an off-year, and doesn’t look at events like this through a political prism. And they don’t think much of us who do.

The vast majority of Americans aren’t watching the scenes of horror on their television, the pictures of despair in their newspapers, and looking for someone to blame. They want to see these people helped.

The “it’s all Chimpy McHitler’s fault” crowd is small, yet somehow has persuaded the high mucky-mucks in the Democratic party that they’re worth listening to.

Sounds like they’ve done a pretty good job on the media as well.

Update (9/11/05): Wow, quite a Blogosphere troika: Welcome InstaPundit, Hugh Hewitt and Andrew Sullivan readers.