What? News coverage of Katrina was filled with "scores of myths" regarding the conditions of evacuees and the availability of supplies? Great Caesar's Ghost! How can it be that the mainstream media was sucker-punched by lies? Again?
Journalists and officials who have reviewed the Katrina disaster blamed the inaccurate reporting in large measure on the breakdown of telephone service, which prevented dissemination of accurate reports to those most in need of the information. Race may have also played a factor.I wonder: prior to the wide-spread use of the telephone (say, prior to 1877), was the quality of reporting on natural disasters marred by the inability of reporters to verify facts? For example, are they suggesting that the best way to figure out if bodies are stacking up in the basement of the Superdome is to call down there and see if someobody will pick up the phone? Dude: where in the name of Perry White is a kid with a scratch pad and a pencil who will walk down a flight fo stairs when you need him? Who here believes that some reporter couldn't have made it into the Superdome if he was interested in covering the story when the fact is that the troops didn't get there to stop them for almost 3 days? Who is kidding whom here?
The wild rumors filled the vacuum and seemed to gain credence with each retelling — that an infant's body had been found in a trash can, that sharks from Lake Pontchartrain were swimming through the business district, that hundreds of bodies had been stacked in the Superdome basement.
It seems to me that all the networks -- ALL of them -- were more interested in getting mileage out of the disaster than in reporting verified facts. In that, they proved themselves to be no better than any tabloid paper.
Congrats, guys! Russell Jandoli is officially doing fish-flops in his gave.