For the Press: The Perfect Storm.

I started this post three days ago, so this is not news.

Even so, a quite intelligent person I talked to this morning still believed much of the reporting that emanated from New Orleans right after Katrina; including myths about “no Louisiana National Guard troops being available” in the Big Easy because they were all in Iraq.

Retractions of incorrect information by the exempt media can never catch up with the damage. This is more true when no retraction is even published.

The press lied. Nobody died. People were just vilified.

After telling us that “poor black” people were victims of an uncaring Federal government, not Katrina, they luridly portrayed those same victims as murderers, rapists and even worse. Why? Because the people of New Oreans were tools for career promotion, increased commercial revenue, and gratuitous bashing of George Bush.

The press and their fellow travellers are the racists, because they combined the racism of low expectations with effusive self-congratulations. The frisson to these lies was laying all of it at the feet of George Bush; who had nothing to do with the path of Katrina, the creation and maintenance of a minority underclass in New Orleans, or with painting them depraved. Those connections flowed like Perrier from the press’ uncritical transmission of the rumor and innuendo promulgated by Fearful Leaders like Eddie Compass, Ray Nagin, Kathleen Blanco, Jesse Jackson, David Duke and Al Sharpton.

Compass, the Chief of Police in New Orleans, has resigned
just as it has been revealed that 15% of his officers deserted in the face of the enemy. This is the same chief who, on national television, contributed to the hysterical misinformation campaign. “[He] spoke of “little babies getting raped” at the Superdome[, while Mayor] Nagin told Oprah Winfrey’s audience that “hooligans” were killing and raping survivors crowded into the stadium.

The actual toll at the Superdome? Four deaths from natural causes, one drug overdose death and one suicide. No bodies stacked in freezers. No snipers of rescue helicopters. No need for 10,000 body bags.

If your community were portrayed as depraved, absent any shred of evidence, how would you feel? Well, the press feels fine. They raised no hue and cry for Chief Compass’ resignation, though he lied to them, so they couldn’t even ask why this resignation took longer than former FEMA director Michael Brown’s.

Rhetorically speaking, when will we see apologies to the people of New Orleans who were vilified by this blatantly false and racist reporting?

See also:
Other hysterical examples from TCS.

A Big Lie Put to Rest

By Ben Stein

Victim of Katrina: accurate reporting