Monday, October 24, 2005

You Don't Say

Now that the public is distracted by their next shiny new tragedy the truth should start leaking out like three day old trash. News | Hurricane horror stories: "Even today, questions remain about various incidents, and why the unconfirmed horror stories were treated as fact and gained such wide currency. It is clear, however, that the media was only the last link -- if the most influential one -- in a chain reaction that led the world to believe gang rape, rampant shootings and infanticide were fast compounding the city's devastation. Many of the overblown reports trace back through poorly informed public officials, to overworked police officers and national guardsmen, to frightened evacuees themselves. The flooded city of New Orleans, experts say, was hit with a perfect storm of conditions in which fear, despair and wild rumors, like a contagious disease, can thrive. Latent racism, some suggest, further distorted the picture of devastation and chaos presented around the world."
Latent? Latent? There was nothing latent about the response to Katrina.
"Keith Woods, dean of faculty at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, says one reason that stories from New Orleans turned out to be wrong was that reporters were unusually reliant on uncorroborated information from individual sources, whether government officials, soldiers or evacuees. "For the most part the structures that might undergird accurate reporting were often literally underwater," Woods says."
The press hasn't been all that accurate for over five years, why start now? Reporting what you are told is not investigative and shouldn't be printed without corroboration, otherwise a country might go to war and not know why.

And they talk about bloggers.

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