Tuesday, August 29, 2006

National Media Response to Katrina Ain't So Stellar Neither

Today is August 29, 2006, the 1 year anniversary (sounds weird) -- one year since Katrina ripped the first 29 years of my life apart. That's probably a bit melodramatic given that I lost little compared to many around here, but that's how bad even my pithy losses feel.

It's also my first ever time blogging. I didn't even want to do this crap (probably another stupid fad); but lately I've had WAYYYY too much to get off my chest. Maybe this will help. Like so many of us around here, I can't hold my tongue any longer.

Most of what I hear in the national "news" media about New Orleans is so negative. I expected, at least today, to see more about the lives lost, the grief -- and the hope. Yet today, our national "news" media would rather focus on when and who called for evacuation, on neighborhoods not rebuilt, and on showing different versions of "Will That Swampy Little Shithole of a Town Survive?"

Why is any sort of negative depiction of 9/11 victims disrespectful; but idiots go unchecked when they call the people who died here "stupid for living in a bowl"? Were 9/11 victims stupid for flying? Ignorant and dumb for working on the 91st floor? The 9/11 victims' daily decisions involved risk too, just like...ohhh I don't know...everything, including living in most of our major cities.

We are asked: "Didn't you know this would happen? I mean, you've had floods and hurricanes before. " I wonder if I could get away with: "Well, they should have known it was unsafe to work way up there. After all, it was bombed before."

I didn't hear a guest on Fox News reprimanded for or even called on his comment that people must take "personal responsibility" for where they live. I wonder if he questioned Trade Tower victims' personal responsibility about choosing to work in the Twin Towers? Nagin wasn't putting down NYC with his "hole in the ground" thing. He was probably just fucking irritated from the lack of respect and biased coverage we have received.

By the way, did anyone ever wonder what the wealthy widows and orphans of 9/11 victims did with the money they got from the Victims' Compensation Fund, in addition to the life insurance and investment funds they had? Gosh, how insensitive it would have been to even suggest they frivolously spent tens and hundreds of thousands of federal dollars like those Katrina victims who blew their $2000.

Why are our first responders, who worked days without sleep or food or outside help, seemingly less worthy of recognition than NYC's first responders who could take breaks and go home each day to their families? Thankfully, they had homes to go back to.

Today, while local media broadcast live an interfaith service (THANKS, Y'ALL!) to honor the first responders and to Bless our dead -- living and deceased -- this was being broadcast simultaneously on the big "news" networks:

  • a FoxNews correspondent, broadcasting IN FRONT OF THE DOORS OF THE CONVENTION CENTER WHERE and WHILE THE SERVICE WAS BEING HELD, did a cutesy li'l 45 second piece about the horrors that took place there after Katrina and how much money was spent to restore it. And for those who think we're squandering a big fat $110 billion dollar welfare check down here, see this post from 8/24/06: http://dapoblog.blogspot.com/
  • MSNBC was still a' beatin that dead horse of a story about that freak who, it turns out, couldn't even be indicted for killing Jon Benet.
  • After a heartwarming look back at the carnage of the Conv Ctr, FoxNews went back to the studio audience show which opened with: "It's been a year since Katrina. Have we decided who's to blame"? I'm not making this shit up. If they weren't so enthralled in making us look pathetic, they would have known that we pretty much figured that shit out...ohhh...3 months ago as is outlined in some excruciatingly detailed big ass federal reports ('cept for the evidence the White House wouldn't release but it was already obvious how they fucked up):
http://www.levees.org and http://www.ce.berkeley.edu/~new_orleans/

and don't forget about http://www.gpoacess.gov/congress/index.html

  • As Nagin and Blanco were trying to comfort and give hope to a city and state on the edge of a collective nervous breakdown, CNN was asking where was the $110 Billion dollars. [I already told you where: http://dapoblog.blogspot.com/ ] To their credit, they did say that only $41 billion had been given out so far and that $17billion was used to pay flood insurance claims (i.e., Fuzzy Math) and alot of it went to fill immediate post-storm needs.
  • And then CNN switched to feed of the Colorado governor saying the Boulder D.A. was an idiot for bringing that freak all the way back from Thailand for nothing. Glad America didn't miss that vital piece of redundant info.
  • And finally, as our ravaged, depressed, somber -- but HOPEFUL and RESILIENT -- city prayed for those lost, Fox rounded out that chunk of airtime talking about the "pets of the storm." Nothin' against pets, but I think those little fuckers got more mention than the elderly here who drowned in their 110 degree attics or in a chair they couldn't get out of a year ago today.

Before you start raving about evacuation and levees, since you are all apparently better hurricane experts now than the millions of us whose families have lived here for hundreds of years, I will address the evacuation thing in the near future. Perhaps even today if I finish picking up the broken glass from my TV. But it's America, so you'll probably exercise your right to free speech anyway, as usual, without knowing all the facts.

I'm not a raving anti-media nutcase. National media have done excellent, and ocassionally even accurate, stories about us. Even more, many have personally helped us and cried with us. Likewise, I know many Americans don't think we're stupid for living in a bowl. I just think that OVERALL stories are being made to fit this mold of us as a raggedy incompetent city that's done little if anything right pre- or post-K. Why else would they spend less time criticizing politicians responding to a contained manmade catastrophe than they spend criticizing politicians dealing with a widespread disaster that was at its core an uncontrollable natural phenomenon? While obsessing Monday-morning-quarterback style about others' responses to Katrina, they need to check themselves regarding theirs.

And that's all I got to say.