Coverage of Hurricane Katrina was marred by ludicrous exaggeration of bad news, much of it (“sharks swimming in the business district! Fats Domino cannibalised! Sean Penn scooping out human brains with a red plastic cup!”) now discredited. Good news barely emerged at all:
[Maj. Ed] Bush, of the National Guard, said that reports of corpses at the Superdome filtered back to the facility via AM radio, undermining his struggle to keep morale up and maintain order.
“We had to convince people this was still the best place to be,” Bush said. “What I saw in the Superdome was just tremendous amounts of people helping people.”
But, Bush said, those stories received scant attention in newspapers or on television.
New Orleans is only a few hours from US media hubs in New York and Los Angeles. Consider how bad news might become exaggerated when it’s being delivered from, say, Iraq.
UPDATE. More good news:
House Republicans on Wednesday will launch a rapid-fire assault against environmental protections on the pretext of helping the U.S. oil and gas industry recover from hurricane damage, environmental groups charge …
The resources panel, led by Richard Pombo of California, wants to lift a ban on Florida offshore drilling, promote oil shale and sell a dozen national parks for energy development.