So the murder, rape and mayhem that allegedly went on in the Superdome and the New Orleans Convention Center in the wake of Hurricane Katrina turned out to be gross exaggerations.
Dr. Louis Cataldie, the state Health and Human Services Department administrator overseeing the body recovery operation, said his teams were inundated with false reports about the Dome and Convention Center.Many bloggers are deriding this state of reporting as racism—that the mainstream media were too ready to believe the worst of a population that was poor and black and to report such. I’m not quite ready to take that plunge just yet, however; not all the way.
"We swept both buildings several times, because we kept getting reports of more bodies there," Cataldie said. "But it just wasn't the case."
Orleans Parish District Attorney Eddie Jordan said authorities had confirmed only four murders in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina - making it a typical week in a city that anticipated more than 200 homicides this year. Jordan expressed outrage at reports from many national media outlets that suffering flood victims had turned into mobs of unchecked savages.
What I would like to know is this: who was passing the information to the media about these non-existent murders and rapes? I’m betting that the source was a believable one, one that had no sinister reason to lie about this sort of thing. (Surely in a city that had as high a murder rate as New Orleans did, such stories would be a bit plausible.) Would some of the evacuees themselves tell reporters about some rapes and murders so that the reporters would broadcast the (mis)information and, therefore, fuel the national public outcry to get those people out of there?
After all, that’s pretty much what happened.
I think the professional media is quite liberal-to-leftist and regularly bristle as they proverbially pat us black folks on the head and say, “we’ll protect you from those evil conservatives.” But instead of jumping to lightly supported conclusions (like they often do), let’s sit up and think this thing through minus the emotionalism.
The media believed ugly rumors about black people told to them by black people: by the evacuees and by the (black) New Orleans police chief. And, in the media mindset, why would
they these sources say things to make other black people look bad unless it was true? That’s laziness (on the media's part), not racism.
No matter how much disdain many of us have for the mainstream media, we shouldn’t mistake sloth for malice.
(Thanks to Wizbang)
UPDATE: Dean Esmay emphatically disagrees.