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Mississippians have largely fallen off the media's radar screens as the unfolding tragedy in New Orleans holds the nation's attention. However, the scale of Katrina's devastation goes much farther than the jewel of the Delta, and its victims have heard enough about the specific tragedies of New Orleans:
Mississippi hurricane survivors looked around Saturday and wondered just how long it would take to get food, clean water and shelter. And they were more than angry at the federal government and the national news media.
Richard Gibbs was disgusted by reports of looting in New Orleans and upset at the lack of attention hurricane victims in his state were getting.
"I say burn the bridges and let 'em all rot there," he said. "We're suffering over here too, but we're not killing each other. We've got to help each other. We need gas and food and water and medical supplies."
The media has painted a distorted picture of the disaster almost from the beginning, and certainly after the levees broke on Lake Pontchartrain. The scope of 9/11 was a few city blocks in New York and Washington DC, and if one relied on the Exempt Media coverage for Katrina, the impression it gives is that the scope for Katrina's impact falls mainly on an entire city.
However, vast stretches of Mississippi have been devastated by Katrina, with towns like Biloxi and Gulfport almost completely destroyed. The area of destruction requiring attention comprises the same square mileage as England. Getting resources to all affected points within that zone simultaneously would take an unprecedented, Herculean effort that no one could have anticipated prior to landfall on Monday morning.
The federal government has sent 7,000 troops to get assistance to the entire region, and the states have activated 40,000 National Guard troops to deploy there as well. They will need to build temporary bridges and roads to get airfields in order. The airfields will receive the supplies that require still more clear roads for delivery to the stricken areas and people. It's not impossible, but it clearly requires tight logistical planning and execution and full attention to the problem.
So why doesn't the media give coverage to the wider devastation of Katrina? For one thing, they have the same problem in Mississippi that the rescuers have -- a lack of access for their reporters. However, by narrowing the scope of the disaster recovery facing the states and federal emergency responders, it makes it easier to blame them for a poor response, when in fact the turnaround time for assistance on Katrina has historically been one of the best for hurricane disasters.
As long as the nation only looks at New Orleans, they can wonder why more help hasn't flooded into the Big Easy. Once the camera angle widens to include all of Katrina's devastation, that question answers itself.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Another Nail? from Everyman
As the usual suspects in the MSM rush to blame Bush for the New Orleans fiasco, could we be seeing the next - and possibly last - nail in the MSM's coffin here? From John Cole over at Balloon Juice: The WaPo has a big piece called in Katrina's Wa... [Read More]
Tracked on September 4, 2005 8:56 AM
» Funny how little things get left out. from Milblog
Like an entire STATE when it comes to disaster relief. To look at the coverage, the ONLY place affected by Katrina was New Orleans. I know, I know, the media just wants to 'help' by pointing out the problems. And... [Read More]
Tracked on September 4, 2005 9:23 AM
» After Katrina: Beyond New Orleans from Beltway Blogroll
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Tracked on September 4, 2005 1:42 PM
» Low Trust Islands in High Trust Societies from Depleted Uranium
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Tracked on September 4, 2005 4:00 PM
» It Wasn't The Feds Who Murdered Hurricane Victims from Hard Starboard
....It was the state of Louisiana and especially the "goddamn" mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin. Cap'n Ed, in his inimitable. yeoman fashion, has the round-up. *Katrina: Dry Run Taught New Orleans Nothing Marc from Cranial Cavity notes that... [Read More]
Tracked on September 4, 2005 10:13 PM
» Hurricane Katrina: Maintaining Perspective from ShrinkWrapped
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Tracked on September 5, 2005 1:38 PM
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