Culpability

The cover has been coming off the hysteria that was an immediate aftermath of Katrina. Powerline calls for an investigation.

The media’s enthusiastic mis-reporting of falsehood as fact seriously damaged the rescue effort:

Compass conceded that rumor had overtaken, and often crippled, authorities’ response to reported lawlessness, sending badly needed resources to situations that turned out not to exist. [LA Times]

It’s time for some accountability here. The conventional wisdom is that no one performed particularly well in the aftermath of Katrina–not local, state or federal authorities, and not considerable numbers of private citizens. But it now appears clear that the worse performance of all was turned in by the mainstream media.

GIGO is the term that computer people use: Garbage In means Garbage Out. In this case, it appears that the garbage being fed into the maw of rumor and news had many reasons for its existance than error. The question that is now on the table is whether the initial conclusions, allegations, and accusations that were based on this false and incorrect and misleading information will be exposed for what they are and whether the public will learn the lesson that it should not jump to conclusions based on what used to be a reliable source of information.

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