Friday, September 09, 2005

Reporters killed New Orleanians, of course

The king of the kooks, Hugh Hewitt, says that reporters are directly responsible for the deaths of New Orleanians because they did not convey the severity of the hurricane before it hit. This is part of an interview with NYU's Jay Rosen:

Again, I've got a proposition for you, because they [reporters] did not do their homework, because they did not understand the levees were the threat, they ended up killing hundreds of Americans. I'm not going to say thousands, because I don't know the number. But I know hundreds are dead, that they did not communicate the severity of this storm.

What a sickening display. What an astonishing boob. What a hack. What a disgrace. And, by the way, wrong.

Here is just a selection of stories I culled from the day before Katrina hit. I found 22 hits on Lexis-Nexis matching "Katrina" and "levee" from broadcast media alone:

CNN: August 28, 2005 Sunday
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD: The city is preparing for up to 15 inches of rain and a storm surge of up to 28 feet, a wall of water that would overwhelming the city's levee system. Worst case scenarios predict the bowl-shaped city could be submerged under as much as 30 feet of water.

ABC News: Good Morning America: August 28, 2005 Sunday
DAVID KERLEY, ABC NEWS(Off Camera) Good morning, Kate. New Orleans is waking up on this Sunday, realizing it is still the bull's eye for hurricane Katrina. This is Lake Pontchartrain. This is the north side of New Orleans. And this is one of the big concerns, as well as the Mississippi on the south, is that when the storm surge comes, a lot of water and the winds is going to push the water over the dikes and levees and flood New Orleans. That's why residents are being told to leave town.

CBS NEWS: August 28, 2005 Sunday
LEE COWAN: (Voiceover) Now the main worry, Charlie, of course, is the water. The storm surge from Katrina is expected to be anywhere between 15 and 20 feet, with waves on top of that. The levees that were built around this city after Betsy in 1965 are only 13 feet high.

NBC NEWS: August 28, 2005 Sunday
SAVIDGE: For New Orleans, Katrina is the nightmare that's haunted officials for decades.

Mayor C. RAY NAGIN (New Orleans): This is not a test.

SAVIDGE: The "Big Easy" is a giant bowl below sea level, dependent on levees and pumps to keep dry, and water isn't the only thing the city can trap. There are over 100,000 people with no car and no real way out.

NPR: August 28, 2005 Sunday
Dr. SUHAYDA: The reason the Red Cross has elected not to open shelters in the city is that there are hurricane conditions, such as the one we're facing, that everyone knows would overtop the levee, that is the levees are only designed--or are designed--for about a Category 3 storm. This is a Category 5. It's not going to be any surprise if you put 10 tons on a bridge that tells you it can only hold five tons, you know.

So the broadcast media completely failed to warn anyone about the levees and the danger of the storm, with the exception of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and NPR (even Fox! Geraldo discussed the levee problem on Saturday). Of course, this search excludes local New Orleans and Gulf Coast-area stations, the stations that many of the residents would likely be watching, and who would almost certainly be telling their citizens of the levee danger.

Hugh Hewitt is a classic idiot. An ignorant one.

UPDATE: Welcome, Political Animals.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 12:09 PM

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