September 26, 2005
APPARENTLY, THE PRESS’S PERFORMANCE DURING KATRINA wasn’t any better than the governments involved. At least, this Times-Picayune report says that the reports of death and destruction were wildly exaggerated. This is significant, not least because false reports of mayhem may have slowed rescue efforts over concerns with security. In addition, portrayal of New Orleans as lawless and debauched is likely to feed reluctance to rebuild.
UPDATE: More thoughts on the press’s overrated performance. Though most of the positive commentary I’ve seen on press performance has come in the form of self-congratulation.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Rick Stuart is charging racism:
Can you depend on the media to tell you what is really happening? No. Especially when they are stuck in one place, and can only look around their location and for whatever reason end up spreading rumors. . . .
And why was everyone so quick to believe (and report) that a mostly black group of mostly poor gathered together would turn to such violence? Even early reports on cannibalism? These are people like you and me, not some sub human race. When I watched the news reports I wasn’t fully buying into the wildest stories, but of course the wildest stories made the news. And they made the news often, without being questioned or fact checked.
I thought the reporting from the area was awful, and I’d even go so far to say racist.
I’m guessing that the rumors of Klingon invasion didn’t pan out, either.
MORE: John Cole has further thoughts on why it’s important to get the story right.