Ed Driscoll

Down The Memory Hole At CNN

Clayton Cramer asks, “Remember in 1984, where Winston’s job was to revise newspapers of the past to keep up with the ever changing present?”

This is very interesting. A couple years ago, during the Katrina disaster, I linked to a CNN report and quoted it:

Overnight, police snipers were stationed on the roof of their precinct, trying to protect it from gunmen roaming through the city, CNN’s Chris Lawrence reported.

One New Orleans police sergeant compared the situation to Somalia and said officers were outnumbered and outgunned by gangs in trucks.

“It’s a war zone, and they’re not treating it like one,” he said, referring to the federal government. …

One of my readers ran into that posting of mine–and noticed that the CNN report at that link no longer said anything like that. It was much, much more upbeat. Nothing about the police snipers on the roof. Did I copy the wrong link? Did I have a brief attack of delusion, and make something up?

The earliest archived version on the Internet Wayback Machine of the article that Clayton is referring to is dated December 10th, 2005, three months after the story originally ran. If that date is correct (and I’m not familiar enough with the Wayback Machine’s inner workings to know if retroactive airbrush touch-ups and other types of post-facto rejiggering are possible), it sounds like it may have been revised sometime in the fall of 2005, after news agencies first began to realize (largely thanks to bloggers, and those who were actually on the scene) that Katrina wasn’t their finest hour of reporting after all.

(Although try telling Big Media that: as recently as last month, while Hugh Hewitt was discussing NBC’s Weekly World News-style hyping of Virgina Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui, he noted, “Steve Capus…the president of NBC News, who I debated on Monday about the quality of Katrina coverage, which he called one of the media