Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Media Inaccurate New Orleans Reporting

See Los Angeles Times article Katrina Takes a Toll on Truth, News Accuracy by Susannah Rosenblatt and James Rainey
 “Rumors supplanted accurate information and media magnified the problem.” “Rapes, violence and estimates of the dead were wrong.” National Guard spokesman Maj. Ed Bush “conclude[s] that newspapers and television exaggerated criminal behavior in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, particularly at the overcrowded Superdome and Convention Center.”
 “Mayor C. Ray Nagin told a national television audience on ‘Oprah’ three weeks ago of people ‘in that frickin' Superdome for five days watching dead bodies, watching hooligans killing people, raping people’." “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.”
 “Hyperbolic reporting spread through much of the media.”
 “The Los Angeles Times adopted a breathless tone the next day in its lead news story, reporting that National Guard troops ‘took positions on rooftops, scanning for snipers and armed mobs as seething crowds of refugees milled below, desperate to flee. Gunfire crackled in the distance’."
 “State officials this week said their counts of the dead at the city's two largest evacuation points fell far short of early rumors and news reports. Ten bodies were recovered from the Superdome and four from the Convention Center, said Bob Johannessen, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. (National Guard officials put the body count at the Superdome at six, saying the other four bodies came from the area around the stadium.)”
 Louisiana National Guard Col. Thomas Beron, who headed security at the Superdome, said that for every complaint, "49 other people said, 'Thank you, God bless you.' "

See Prior Posts:
Environmentalist Lawsuit Blocked Storm Gates to Protect New Orleans
Tim Russert Interviews New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin
Laguna Beach Bluebird Canyon Slide Deserves Federal Disaster Aid
Help Victims of Hurricane Katrina


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