Friday, October 07, 2005

Lies and Racism in the Media

Now that the truth is coming out regarding the media's distortion of the "facts on the ground" in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it begs the question: How many deaths are the media responsible for? How many people changed their course of action after hearing reports of rape, murder, and mayhem in the Superdome, none of which apparently happened? Via Daimnation, we quote the Washington Post:

Five weeks after Hurricane Katrina laid waste to New Orleans, some local, state and federal officials have come to believe that exaggerations of mayhem by officials and rumors repeated uncritically in the news media helped slow the response to the disaster and tarnish the image of many of its victims.

Claims of widespread looting, gunfire directed at helicopters and rescuers, homicides, and rapes, including those of "babies" at the Louisiana Superdome, frequently turned out to be overblown, if not completely untrue, officials now say.

The sensational accounts delayed rescue and evacuation efforts already hampered by poor planning and a lack of coordination among local, state and federal agencies.

Daimian Penny adds the following:

Once again, the parallels to the Jenin "massacre" - in which the media reported the most outrageous rumours and lies, in no small part because they wanted them to be true - are striking.

Good analogy, but I'll go one further - the parallels to the war in Iraq - in which the media potrays all events through the prism of Vietnam, in no small part because they wanted them to be true - are striking.

Will the media be able to "Katrina" Iraq? By reporting only the violent acts staged for them in front of their hotel windows, can reporters create an impression of terror, fear and desperation, resulting in a public backlash against what is in actuality a winning battle?

Additionally, why the racism in the media? Did the idea of looting and mayhen by black Americans seems so plausible to these guys that they reported it uncritically? And why are all disagreements between parties in Iraq expected to lead towards "civil war" - are these Arabs simply unable to control themselves? Or govern themselves? Seems like most reporters are starting out with a base of racial/ethnic preconceptions that belie any notion of fair reporting to begin with...

In my eyes, the more the media's credibility suffers at this point, the better...they need to get their act together - and soon.

Link to Daimnation! here:

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