Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Katrina Coverage

Conservative leaning thinkers are convinced the mainstream media has a liberal bias that is evidenced by what news gets reported and also how the news is reported. However, most of the conventional wisdom since 911 is that the mainstream media does a pretty good job covering disasters. Conventional wisdom just bit the dust again with the coverage of Katrina.

Hurricane Katrina may have been the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. The number of lives lost my not be the greatest, but the number of lives affected, most certainly will be the greatest. Even those of us thousands of miles from the disaster will have our lives changed by the government regulations and spending that will be the eventual result of the political process in the aftermath of Katrina. However, the major affect of Katrina will be the continuation and expansion of the trend of government interference and government care, not a complete change of government direction.

The news coverage of Katrina, however, will go down in history as a complete turning point; a seminal moment; a paradigm shift. Last year during the California special election, the Los Angeles Times unabashedly ran a hit piece on Arnold Schwarzenegger the day of the election. In addition to running the piece accusing Gov. Schwarzenegger of being a sexual predator, the Times also printed and delivered hundreds of thousands of free newspapers to neighborhoods considered to be leaning towards Gov. Schwarzenegger. The Los Angeles Times clearly crossed a line from having a bias in its reporting to being an advocate in its reporting. The result for the Times has been a loss of subscriptions, a loss of readership, and a complete loss of respect. I have no way of knowing what the results of the special election would have been if the piece had not been printed and distributed, but my guess is that the Times helped Gov. Schwarzenegger more than it hurt him.

With their coverage of hurricane Katrina, ABCCBSNBCCNNNEWYORKTIMES have all just repeated the Los Angeles Times mistake. The mainstream media has now crossed the line from having an obvious bias to being advocates of anything that will make our President look incompetent and unprepared. As so often happens though, not knowing when to back off has unintended consequences. The majority of Americans have seen through all of the negative coverage and have not changed their opinion of President Bush. The mainstream media though, has lost the last chunk of what little credibility they had left. News consumers now have even more of a reason to look for alternate sources of information.

In a perfect world, we would have two strong political parties and an independent media. The Democrat’s and the media have both really been hurt by the media coverage of Katrina. I don’t know where this is going to lead. I find myself longing for heaven again today.


anna said...

Dave I have to admit you are one of the few blogs I've read lately that hasn't given into the media hype of the diaster and the lack of govermental help at the time of need. It's a breath of fresh air in my opinion. Having been a military wife and a missionary working with refugees I am more upset about people laying blame instead of helping. 72 hours is the fastest response and active duty unit can deploy (one with helicopters) for an emergency situation. That's a unit that is prepared everyday to go to war, not a national guard unit that has men and women living a "normal" life 9-5. I think 96 hours is a reasonalbe response time. True that resucers were there moments after the tsunami in some places, and after 9-11; as media hype likes to compare but neither of those places had 30 feet of water and roads missing and men with armed weapons. Yes I think our government will be changed by this and not all in positive ways I fear.
I leave my comments here because I feel that in some respects they might actually be read and understood rather then read and taken for not being broken hearted for the people that lost lives and families and homes. I certainly do hope that the American people will see through the news media bias.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Anna,

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I read on your blog about your move. I think you will really like “Green Country”. I wish I lived there.

The only thing that has really surprised me about this disaster is how shameless most of the mainstream media have been in bashing the Bush Administration. President Bush and his administration probably deserve some criticism, but it will now fall on deaf ears because most people don’t trust the bashers.

The blogsphere hasn’t behaved much better, but at least now some of the truth is getting disseminated.