Disaster and the Media

Don’t believe everything you read. Surely you know that already. But there’s one particular issue I’d like to point out, as it has definitely sparked my interest in discrepancies between what is represented in the media, and the actual truth.

The large headline on the top of the front page of the Los Angeles Times yesterday reads: “New Orleans Death Toll May Soar; Survivors Desperate; Looters Brazen.” (Brazen means “unrestrained by convention or propriety.” I looked it up)

Today’s headline, again on the front page, reads: “New Orleans Slides Into Chaos; U.S. Scrambles to Send Troops.”

This is the LA Times. Many people have the misconceived notion that their news reporting is somehow accurate. They’re actually just writing the most striking headlines possible – as long as there is just one speck of truth to it.

This is from Jason Roberson of the Choctaw Central Solar Car Team in Mississippi.

One last note, the picture being painted of New Orleans in the media is exaggerated in terms of looting and lawlessness. That is only a small percentage of the population, many there are families like our own who only want to get out of there. Having lived there, New Orleans is a beautiful city with wonderful people, keep them in your thoughts.

I’m not at all suggesting that the situation in New Orleans isn’t bad, or that they don’t need more help. It certainly is a disaster, and I hope that everyone does their part in helping in the relief efforts.

However, I am saying that it’s a good thing to see different perspectives. The situation created by the media is oftentimes “exaggerated.”

September 3, 2005

Message from someone who was at Tulane Today

THE MEDIA IS SOOOOO OVEREXAGGERATING!!! uptown was perfectly fine…no looters, no broken in houses or cars, as i checked many of my friends apartments! there are some places with water still, including the causeway and parts of claiborne, ect, but is is not bad! the places the media keeps showing is like st. bernard parish, slidell, covington, and other places. after we went downtown to the convention center to help, we picked up my dad’s friend’s mother-in-law…this old lady who lives in kenner aqnd stubbornly didnt leave. she said there was 3 feet of water in the street last week, but it didnt get into her house and it was gone within 2 days…the streets were perfectly dry in kenner! N.O. looks the same…except for spots of flooded streets, downed trees, and power lines…and deafening helicopters overhead! haha. i saw it with my own eyes a few hours ago and just got back into BR. i took pics of st. charles and the front of tulane and some other areas (but not too much cause my camera broke). i will get them to brett and on this website by tomorr hopefully if my camera stops being reterted.
JUST BE SURE: TULANE COULD BE UP IN 2 MONTHS IF IT WANTED!!!…short of an atomic bomb there is NO WAY that what we consider new orleans (uptown, downtown, kenner, metairie) will be messed up still in 2 to 3 months…it will be perfectly fine!”

on a final note, THE NEWS IS REPLAYING OLD FOOTAGE! fox just showed some stuff (flooded areas, ect) that were from 2-3 days ago! i was downtown today driving down a road (st. charles downtown) that fox news showed as flooded as of now! again, this is not to say the situation isnt bad…it is, but the media likes to entertain for ratings (sadly). please donate and give to the cause, but have hope too!

Leave a Reply