NBC news anchor Brian Williams has a blog. His recent post about Katrina, which was prompted by emails he received from viewers complaining about too much Katrina coverage, is sharp. Here’s the key excerpt:
Our Katrina coverage started before Katrina arrived on shore. We were in the Superdome for the storm, and then watched what happened in New Orleans during that awful week. We have gone back many times, including this past Monday, and we’ve gone to Mississippi. We’ve covered the struggle in Florida and along the Texas coast, as we cover any event that causes human suffering.
Katrina is different. Katrina displaced 2 million Americans. It destroyed 350,000 homes. Not all the bodies have yet been found. It exposed cracks in our society, and it has us talking about race and class, and money and relief. It affected what we pay for gas, and may affect what we pay in taxes. It literally re-arranged the map of the Gulf Coast. There are many heroes, but no one villain.
Tonight, one of the great American cities is partially in ruins, and many of our fellow citizens are hurting and have nothing left. In some places, nothing’s been done yet.
And so, while we are reading the mail, we also have a job to do. And a big story to cover. Along with the news around the nation and the world each day, we intend to keep covering it.
Amen to that.
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Anderson Cooper has been down to NOLA at least a half dozen times, most recently last week.
I dunno Rob. I don’t watch the network news, so I’m not qualified to answer about that, but I do read the New York Times pretty frequently, and I listen to NPR, and both of those sources have continued to pay attention to the aftermath of Katrina. I don’t think anyone knows enough about what caused the levees to fail to blame the feds quite yet, though there’s no lack of finger-pointing (and appropriate finger-pointing) where Bush’s choice of FEMA director is concerned.
Good for Williams for having a blog, for one thing, and for continuing to pay attention to us for another.
Nice sentiments, Ernie, but do you think they’re really delivering coverage? I don’t follow Williams, but I do follow Harry Shearer, and he’s been pretty regularly eviscerating the press for its lack of interest in the story ever since the opportunity to look dashing in dangerous places ended. No more opportunity to tromp around in rubber boots for Cooper and the rest of the lot – no more chances to tell America how this makes them feel – how moved they are, etc. etc. etc.
In particular, Shearer’s been pounding away at the fact that it seems to be only the Times-Picayune that is interested in the story that an agency of the Federal Government seems to have been at fault for the devastation in NO, because of either faulty design or construction of floodwalls. A story that, to my distant eyes, has been shockingly absent from U.S. news. (If you want to know about illegal aliens from Mexico, though, well CNN is your station, with several segments on the topic every single night.) If it’s true, as it pretty clearly appears to be, it certainly casts the Government’s increasing disinterest in funding reconstruction in a different light.
Shearer is not letting Williams off the hook, as I think he shouldn’t. See, eg, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/harry-shearer/just-leave-out-the-newsy-_b_14528.html.
Personally, I’ll believe the anchors’ solemn words when they deliver. Until then, one has to keep in mind that these people are, perhaps more than anything else, paid to appear to care about what they’re reporting. So far, it seems to me that they care more about the appearance than they do about the story. I’m not there – on the ground as you are – but from here, it sure seems that something just ain’t right about the coverage.
Brian Williams said it well ! The rest of America needs to be reminded constantly of the struggles in NOLA. Most forget that the bananas they eat and the coffee they drink comes through that port. More needs to be shown of the coastal areas where their oil and gas comes through the gulf and the need for coastal restoration. America tends to forget too easily !