Wednesday, September 28, 2005


There's a lesson here

From the blog of the New Orleans Times-Picayune: "Rumors of deaths greatly exaggerated"

There's a lesson here, but I'm not sure what it is. Is this a case of the media, even in the midst of a serious crisis, resorting to sensationalism? Or it an instance of the power of rumor and stories exagerrating with the retelling, with well-intentioned people (reporters and "civilians" alike) merely reporting what they've heard and believe to be true? Honest mistakes, or something more sinister? Either way, those who looked to the "animalistic" behavior of the evacuees at the NOLA convention center and the Superdome as some sort of justification for them being left stranded for days will have to look elsewhere for their rationalizations.

"'I think 99 percent of it is bulls---,' said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Lachney, who played a key role in security and humanitarian work inside the Dome. 'Don't get me wrong, bad things happened, but I didn't see any killing and raping and cutting of throats or anything. ... Ninety-nine percent of the people in the Dome were very well-behaved.'"

(Thanks to Paul Cornell for the link.)

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