Media Storm: a self created fantasy

Victor Davis Hanson describes how the Media cooked up a storm over Katrina (also in Washington Times)

the media’s coverage turned out to be almost as disturbing as the natural calamity and initial bureaucratic ineptness — in both the falsehood it spread and the truth it ignored. Political commentators proved more disturbing, seeking to turn death to partisan advantage.

The public was given few facts about what really happened among those trapped, especially the human mayhem that took place. Most would appreciate evidence before sweeping cultural analysis of half-reported stories that were not followed up because they were either untrue or politically incorrect.

Too many of the hysterical pronouncements of ill-informed officials were reported as gospel truth — and then forgotten — in 24-hour bursts. So “25,000 body bags!” and “10,000 dead” beneath the muck of a submerged city were quietly superseded by the matter-of-fact news reports that the airport would open shortly.

Now we are also told that Mardi Gras may be back on schedule. How could such radical improvement happen at ground zero in a city of corpses that supposedly would not recover for decades?

The soda straw analogy: only a very small part of the story was made visible. Think Superdome. Why that and not where the storm hit hardest?

Sometimes the best lie is that of providing only a part of the truth. That can be rationalized later when the whole truth becomes visible, sorta’. But the hysterical ravings about death and destruction are another matter. Floods of major cities have ‘been there, done that’ mayors but Grand Rapids only got a little airtime. The fact that as much as a fifth of the casualties occured due to failures of caregivers in hospitals and residential homes is another item that is quite anomolous but hasn’t received much attention.

Another example is the story Why key military units weren’t mobilized early by Drew Brown, Seth Borenstein and Alison Young that doesn’t even answer the question posed in its title. This story tries to suggest that it is only the Armed Forces that have the wherewithal to respond to emergencies. It presumes a truth that is questionable at best. It is trying to support a meme via selective reporting.

Or, consider the CNN story Clinton: FEMA chief should be experienced which attempts to discredit the FEMA director by ignoring the experience in the Florida hurricanes last year in favor of selected resume items. Again, trying to support a meme via selective reporting.

It is clear for anyone who pays attention that the original reporting painted a picture that was woefully out of line with reality. From this it is logical to conclude that the analysis of “failures” and such things that depend upon the original reporting must also be flawed. Is this simple basic observation and logical inference really so difficult that many in the MSM still don’t get the message? Or are there other forces at work that cause a blindness or an unwillingness to accept reality?

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