« Mission: Possible | Main | Did you know that Scott Brown was a Republican? »

The Good, The Bad, And The Media

When an event of such horrific magnitude occurs like the Haitian earthquake, one becomes stunned at the misery and devastation which can occur in such a short period of time.

However, after the initial shock, logic and reason start to seep in again, and you notice certain things which have become almost secondary to the event at hand.

From what I have observed from the coverage of this disaster, specifically from MSNBC and CNN, is an almost pathological desire to "pimp" out this tragedy.

The scope of the reporting has been needlessly excessive. Both networks reacted to this like a couple of opportunistic vultures, hovering around, rubber-necking on a massive scale, ready to pounce given the opportunity to showcase just how compassionate one reporter or network could be over the other.

I watched a bit on CNN a couple of nights ago, where they had the always concerned looking Anderson Cooper gabbing with two other CNN reporters about what they had witnessed. As each took his turn at the mic, a kind of "my story is worse than yours" engulfed these three stooges. Each took his turn at describing, in graphic detail, what specific horror he had seen during the day, almost trying to out do the other with their description. Along with this came an almost forced emotional response; a point in the conversation when you could almost sense they were trying to show just how affected they were, and they would convey this come hell or high water. Ambition trumped compassion, and it was an uncomfortable scene.

While I have no doubt the people covering this story can be truly moved by the events which they see, this disaster is horrible enough that it need not be embellished to the point of morbid obsession.

In comparison, I find it ironic how media outlets almost instantly refused to show the planes hitting the WTC, or the people jumping out of windows to escape an excruciating death, yet they will eagerly show hundreds of dead Haitians piled up on a roadside clearing.

Are these people not deserving of the same "dignified" treatment? Why is it fine to display the truth and misery of people from one devastating event and not another. Is there an underlying racial component in this attitude? Piles of dead black people from a third-world country can be shown in all of its horror, yet the death of thousands of mainly white people is too sensitive to repeat in its horrible essence?

To add to the sinister component of this, coverage is already being politicized.

Comparisons of the response between how President Bush reacted to Katrina and Obama to Haiti can only serve to be a political and polarizing purpose.

Haiti is a third-world nation, lacking any semblance of a responsible government. Corrupt thuggery reigns. Governmental institutions which are supposed to help people in times of catastrophe are non-existent. Infrastructure was poor before the earthquake, housing inadequate, medical services wretchedly thin. No such things as evacuation planning, social services, rescue components, or emergency provisionary support existed. Nothing.

In comparison, Louisiana (as an example) had all of these structures in place. The first priority of the government, from state institutions to local jurisdictions, is to protect the people and ensure their safety. That is why we have them. Ample warnings were given to ensure the safety of the population, enabling them to take every precaution to help themselves. Governmental agencies had the ability, and the duty, to use every resource at their disposal to maintain order, safety, and provide every method to evacuate people to secure locations. Unfortunately, due to gross incompetence at the state and local levels of government, this disaster planning fell apart in the most critical initial moments of the situation. People died as a direct result of this. By the time the federal government was allowed to intervene, the blueprint for sustained success was useless, as negligence on the part of state and local officials rendered first response all but defeated.

This from a state in the most powerful nation in the world.

Louisiana has a population of 4.5 million people. 971 died.

Haiti has a population of 9.4 million. The expected death toll from this earthquake is from 50,000 to 100,000.

A comparison to Katrina just cannot be equally justified.

If any comparison should be made between recent responses to a natural disaster, it should be made between the 2004 Tsunami and the Haitian earthquake. While it is too soon to see just how effective Obama's response to the current crisis will prove to be, President Bush's response to the tsunami was swift, compassionate, and effective. While the Obama response may prove to be just as meaningful, it is too soon to tell. However, this does not stop his adoring media from claiming how "decisive" he has been in his response.

I've no doubt this sort of useless comparison will continue and amplify as politicians and partisan hacks fan out across the airwaves to score political points over a situation where lives will become secondary to poll numbers.

Disasters can bring out the best in people.

They can also bring out the worst.


TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/37883.

Comments (14)

I am not going to politiciz... (Below threshold)
klrtz1:

I am not going to politicize the disaster in Haiti by even questioning what Obama is doing about it. I condemn with great disgust the Democrats that are politicizing this and call on them to stop. Politics has to stop someplace. If not now, when? If you Democrats can't focus on helping the victims then maybe you Democrats should just shut the hell up.

I'm looking at you Steve Green.

a one point in Cooper broad... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

a one point in Cooper broadcast he sticks the mic down into the rubble to record the cries for help ... WHILE the friends and family of the trapped souls are digging with their hands to try and free them ...

gee, I wonder if Anderson and his crew could have pitched a hand ? got to be 2 or three guys, all healthy, who could do some serious digging ...

the trapped folks must have been teabaggers I guess ...

The show must go on ...

Disasters can bring out the... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Disasters can bring out the best in people.
They can also bring out the worst. And the media is the worst.

Im sure Anderson will do a ... (Below threshold)
914:

Im sure Anderson will do a 180 and scram as soon as the looting begins. The shamestream definitely thrive on misery like this.

"Haiti is a third-world nat... (Below threshold)
davidt:

"Haiti is a third-world nation, lacking any semblance of a responsible government. Corrupt thuggery reigns. Governmental institutions which are supposed to help people in times of catastrophe are non-existent. Infrastructure was poor before the earthquake, housing inadequate, medical services wretchedly thin. No such things as evacuation planning, social services, rescue components, or emergency provisionary support existed. Nothing."

How much of this could be applied to Louisiana?

Louisiana is a third-world state, lacking any semblance of a responsible government. Corrupt thuggery reigns. Governmental institutions which are supposed to help people in times of catastrophe are self-serving at best. Infrastructure was poor before Katrina, housing inadequate, medical services wretchedly thin. No such things as evacuation planning, social services, rescue components, or emergency provisionary support existed. Nothing.

Doesn't the comparison work?

The guy that CNN has on dur... (Below threshold)

The guy that CNN has on during the weekdays is a complete tool. But the thing that got me the other day was the spectacle of CNN patting itself on the back for 20 minutes because Sanjay Gupta (one of their commentators, and a doctor) was there and examined an infant who was injured. OK, good deed, Dr. Gupta, and we're all glad to see more doctors where they're needed. Now, why oh why did CNN feel the need to spend 20 minutes on this?

"Doesn't the comparison wor... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Doesn't the comparison work?"

But..but..but....Louisiana, especially the Big Easy is a "worker's paradise". Just like Detroit.

How many planes full of jou... (Below threshold)
Francis Meehan:

How many planes full of journalists wasted precious airspace while C130s full of supplies and relief workers circled overhead? Unbelievable!

one point in Cooper br... (Below threshold)
kt:

one point in Cooper broadcast he sticks the mic down into the rubble to record the cries for help ... WHILE the friends and family of the trapped souls are digging with their hands to try and free them ...

The girl's own grown brother who was clearly desperate for her safety was standing clear and the men were arguing over whether it was possible to shift things in a way to get the girl out without moving material crushing her to death. This was an operation of delicacy not brute strength, otherwise they would have gotten the brother in there. The Haitians are accustomed to having to rescue themselves and each other since they can't rely on any emergency rescue teams.

It would make no sense for a foreign reporter to jump in and join an effort that may only result in crushing someone to death when he doesn't even know enough of the language to understand urgent coordinating instructions.

kt "It would make no ... (Below threshold)
Marc:

kt "It would make no sense for a foreign reporter to jump in and join an effort that may only result in"

Really, then I suggest you search for the story/video of an Australian reporter who did just that saving an 18 month old girl buried in the rubble while native born asshats all stood around yelling at each other.

Shawn, there are a couple s... (Below threshold)
Wanderlust:

Shawn, there are a couple specific reasons why the MSM got the vapors over showing the planes crashing into WTC and people jumping to their deaths:

* fanatical Muslims were responsible; and

* the President was a Republican (and a hated one at that; remember the MSM were all rooting for Gore).

You see, a Republican President would be expected to actually do something meaningful about a massive terrorist attack on the US - not just weep in front of the cameras and treat the bombing like a law enforcement investigation. A Republican President would be expected to rally the country to go to war against the people responsible for the attack.

And the more those scenes were aired, especially the ones where people jumped to their deaths, the more it could be expected that people in the US would support the Republican President's desire to wage war against the terrorist groups, and against the governments which harbored them or gave them support.

Oh, and if a Republican President went to war and the war included the same enemy that the previous Democratic President had been doing nothing about for the past eight years, that might make people lean more Republican than Democratic.

Since we all know from the famous Pew poll which political party the MSM overwhelmingly supports, they had a massive incentive to do everything they could to prevent people from supporting a Republican President and being lured to respect the Republican party.

Can't have that, so damn the consequences, we won't show the planes crashing or the jumpers leaping.

/bastards

I am curious to know what t... (Below threshold)
Poole:

I am curious to know what the news teams took to Haiti with them, other than the electronic equipment necessary to make their reports?

Did they bring their own supplies of food, water, medical equipment in sufficient quantities so that they would not have to acquire same from the locals? Or, are they using supplies that should be used by the Haitians?

Has anyone reported that the military airlift capacity may be under a strain because so many of our aircraft are now being used to carry troops and supplies into Afghanistan? That the decision by President Obama to increase the troop strength there was made in time for the winter season which places a greater reliance on aircraft because the roads are difficult, if not impossible, to use in the winter?

You can bet that the news t... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

You can bet that the news teams brought everything they thought they needed to be able to rubberneck, er, REPORT for weeks without actually drinking the water or actually TOUCHING anything. And you can bet there was armed security close by.

I saw a news piece last night with I believe a CNN reporter (it may have been Fox, but I don't think so) shoving a microphone at a trapped victim and then interviewing him again when he was extricated.

It would just impress the hell out of me if these voyeurs would turn off the cameras every once in a while and actually help somebody.

MediaCurves.com conducted a... (Below threshold)
Ben:

MediaCurves.com conducted a study on among 1,000 Americans on the coverage of several major media events. Results found that the majority of viewers (71%) indicated that the amount of media coverage of the earthquakes in Haiti is appropriate. Also, the majority of viewers (78%) indicated that they think there was too much media coverage of Michael Jackson's death More in depth results can be seen at:
http://www.mediacurves.com/NationalMediaFocus/J7709-MediaCoverageHaiti/Index.cfm
Thanks,
Ben




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy