Tuesday, September 27, 2005

More about the rumors and instant urban legends from Katrina

Drudge links to this as his main headline today.

I disagree with this assessment (from above link):

Times-Picayune Editor Jim Amoss cited telephone breakdowns as a primary cause of reporting errors, but said the fact that most evacuees were poor African Americans also played a part.

"If the dome and Convention Center had harbored large numbers of middle class white people," Amoss said, "it would not have been a fertile ground for this kind of rumor-mongering."
What's he saying here? That white people would have been less likely to start these kinds of rumors, or less likely to pass them on? I'm not so sure; I've heard plenty of gullible white people passing along all kinds of urban legends as gospel truth.

Perhaps blacks are more used to living with violence in their neighborhoods, so they were willing to believe that murders and rapes could be taking place. It's also possible that oral story-telling is more central to black culture, but that's just flat-out conjecture on my part. (I surely hope it doesn't sound racist because it's absolutely not meant to be; when you're as much of a white-bread suburbanite as I am, it's hard to have a good ear for these things, and of course these days, almost everything can be construed to be racist.)

I still think much of the blame has to be placed on the media itself for accepting and passing along wild rumors as fact. I warned about this here and here.

Of course, the reporters are only human, and they, too, were caught up in the true horror of witnessing the disappearance by drowning of a beloved American city.

The Corner is on top of this story now (h/t Instapundit).

And as far as my blogging during this: Golly, I wish I had posted about my skepticism on the reports of young girls being raped and killed in the Superdome. As I said to my husband at the time, "Weren't there any men, any fathers, in that place? Because if there were, they wouldn't have let anybody do that to a young girl -- or any woman, for that matter!"

I also wish I'd posted about my doubts about the stories of scores of bodies being piled up in the Superdome and Convention Center.

Then I could really crow about my astute blogging. As it is now, I can just sort of weakly pat myself on the back for my tepid little warnings about media inaccuracy.

Oh well. Next time. If, God forbid, there is a next time.

3 comments:

Paul said...

Two comments on this:

1) yes, the media/reporters are only human, however it is (used to be) understood by the general public that if the media reported it, they must have investigated it thouroughly to verify it as true.

Apprently they don't bother with that any more.

2) The reason the media was so gung-ho with these rumors is so they could play the race card yet again - "...oh the poor black people, look how Bush has abandoned them..." You get the idea.

I'm so sick of MSM it makes me want to puke.

Paul said...

Two comments on this:

1) yes, the media/reporters are only human, however it is (used to be) understood by the general public that if the media reported it, they must have investigated it thouroughly to verify it as true.

Apparently they don't bother with that any more.

2) The reason the media was so gung-ho with these rumors is so they could play the race card yet again - "...oh the poor black people, look how Bush has abandoned them..." You get the idea.

I'm so sick of MSM it makes me want to puke.

anonymouse1000 said...

Not having a phone is no excuse to check and double check a story. The MSM trying to cover up for itself.