The Story & The Truth


Rick over at Rightwing Nuthouse has a great post summarizing the latest greatest MSM failure. This time it’s the failure of the media to get the truth about the Convention Center in New Orleans:

Rather isn?t the only media apologist who is excusing the MSM?s shockingly bad performance during coverage of Hurricane Katrina. Matthew Felling of the Center for Media and Public Affairs is pleading for understanding because of ?conditions😕

Media analysts noted that conditions in New Orleans were chaotic and that reporters relied on fragmentary accounts, collected from often unverifiable sources.

?The fog of war and the gusts of a hurricane both cloud and obscure vital truths,? said Matthew Felling of the Center for Media and Public Affairs.

?What we?re seeing here is no different than the reports of museum looting right after U.S. troops entered Baghdad. It?s not that different from election night 2000 when some journalists prematurely declared a winner. In all three cases, the public would have been served by a bit more patience and less feigned certainty.?

Note that Mr. Felling excuses the numerous factual errors and rumormongering by reporters as he pleads that journalism is too difficult to get right when things are confusing and besides, it?s happened before so it?s okay.

Contrast this attitude with the attitude of Mr. Reynolds following his faux paux and you get a perfect summary of what is wrong with journalism. News today is about ?the story? not ?the truth.? Part of the story of Katrina was the chaotic and violent conditions at the Superdome and Convention Center. Any information that contributed to that storyline was run without first being filtered through any kind of fact checking or confirmation process. Television producers and executives today want ?flow? to the news, as if events unfold in a nice, tidy sequence. The broadcast should ?march? at a swift pace. This contributes to the ?drama? of the news. In short, the more entertaining we can make the news, the more viewers we will attract.

What happens to the truth in all this show-biz is predictable. When a bystander comes up to a reporter and tells a story of a 7 year old girl being raped and murdered in the bathroom of the Convention Center, since it fits into the storyline of the narrative, it is passed along and becomes part of ?the first draft of history.? Except this draft is of a TV drama script, not a history book.

But other accusations that have gained wide currency are more demonstrably false. For instance, no one found the body of a girl ? whose age was estimated at anywhere from 7 to 13 ? who, according to multiple reports, was raped and killed with a knife to the throat at the Convention Center.

Many evacuees at the Convention Center the morning of Sept. 3 treated the story as gospel, and ticked off further atrocities: a baby trampled to death, multiple child rapes.

Salvatore Hall, standing on the corner of Julia Street and Convention Center Boulevard that day, just before the evacuation, said, ?They raped and killed a 10-year-old in the bathroom.? Neither he nor the many people around him who corroborated the killing had seen it themselves.

This widely reported story was a rumor. Part of the problem was the irresponsible behavior of Mayor Nagin and Police Chief Compass who continuously passed along rumors of the most spectacular atrocities including the rape of babies:

Compass told Winfrey on Sept. 6 that ?some of the little babies (are) getting raped? in the Dome. Nagin backed it with his own tale of horrors: ??They have people standing out there, have been in that frickin? Superdome for five days watching dead bodies, watching hooligans killing people, raping people.?? But both men have since pulled back to a degree.

?The information I had at the time, I thought it was credible,? Compass said, conceding his earlier statements were false.

Asked for the source of the information, Compass said he didn?t remember.

Nagin was also the originator of the ?10,000 dead? speculation, a figure that the Mayor still refuses to say who gave him.

It’s amazing that the people of Louisiana actually voted these people into office. Nagin and Blanco helped the MSM push these false stories from the beginning with their own lies and the media just treated everything as gospel. They WANT to believe its true so they tell their audience that it is true. No fact checking, no investigation, just put it out there.

And it was all bullshit.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments