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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Katrina: Journalists Gone Wild

The exaggerated claims during Katrina points to reporters not following traditional journalistic principles as described by Matt Welch in Reasononline.

He debunks all of the wild claims of rapes, throat slashers (the ham-slinging-slasher!) and helicopter snipers (no helicopter pilots could possibly discern such give the noise). He writes:

From a journalistic point of view, the root causes of the bogus reports were largely the same: The communication breakdown without and especially within New Orleans created an information vacuum in which wild oral rumor thrived. Reporters failed to exercise enough skepticism in passing along secondhand testimony from victims (who often just parroted what they picked up from the rumor mill), and they were far too eager to broadcast as fact apocalyptic statements from government officials—such as Mayor Ray Nagin’s prediction of 10,000 Katrina-related deaths (there were less than 900 in New Orleans at press time) and Police Superintendent Edwin Compass’ reference on The Oprah Winfrey Show to “little babies getting raped”—without factoring in discounts for incompetence and ulterior motives.

He adds they had massive need for assistance that would not be received absent hysterical claims.

I might add that anything to make President Bush look unresponsive to human suffering is a slant too tempting for liberal journalists and TV show hosts to avoid. Actually, it is no temptation. It is the prism within which all events are viewed.

Keep it coming MSM. You haven't lost all customers yet.

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