Why No One Takes Salon Seriously

Leaving aside the fact that Salon doesn’t even attempt to hide their decidedly liberal viewpoints, what passes as reporting is at times positively juvenile in it’s ineptitude. Case in point, this story on Katerina spin. Here’s how it starts out…

It’s quickly becoming conventional wisdom: The media reporting from Hurricane Katrina was largely false, and conditions in New Orleans weren’t nearly as bad as the press made them out to be. The right is gloating about another Rather-gate triumph over the liberal media and saying that it’s the press, not the federal government, that ought to be investigated.

Author Tim Grieve points to my Rewriting History – Katrina Media Myths Exposed with that link.

First he claims I (or the unnamed “right”) am gloating about a Rather-gate triumph over the liberal media. The major factual error in that interpretation is that, to the best of my knowledge, no one is making those comparisons – save for Grieve. Having discussed this at length with a USAToday reporter this afternoon (for an upcoming article on Katrina coverage), I made the point that as near as I could tell there was no ideological bent to reporting rumor as fact – for example is seemed to be done as often by Fox as is was by CNN. What we were witness to was cable and network news divisions attempting to tell the story of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast (an area equivalent in size to Great Britain) from a tripod in the French Quarter. It was a 24/7 keyhole view into the disaster.

Second, and again to my knowledge, no one is saying “conditions in New Orleans weren’t nearly as bad as the press made them out to be,” they’re basically saying that the conditions in New Orleans (and elsewhere) didn’t match the the descriptions given by the media. You can check our archives under Hurricane Katrina, we (mostly Paul) were saying it was much worse than anyone actually knew. The problem is that some of the myths of the Superdome and Convention Center overshadowed other stories of pain, suffering, grief, destruction, etc…

Finally, Grieve in his link implies that I have somehow called for the press to be investigated, rather than the government. I’ve re-read my piece several times and frankly his claim is just bizarre. It must have escaped Grieve that the major source of material for the piece is a from a mainstream media site, one which itself was guilty of misreporting. The Times-Picayune at least deserves credit for taking another look at the situation. It may be impossible to unring the bell in regards to the post flooding reporting, but that doesn’t mean that correcting the record isn’t a worthwhile endeavor.

A while back a commenter said something to the effect of, “but what about everything you saw?” The question now is, “what exactly did we see?” Did anyone see those often reported piles of bodies? Most people believe they did, but considering that officials say there were 10 deaths (total) between the two sites, only 4 of which were murders, it’s doubtful that anyone did. We saw chaos, lawlessness, and looting – but the anarchy was mostly just implied. Does that mean it didn’t occur? No, but it should cause thoughtful people to re-investigate what they think they know about what happened. That would appear to exclude Grieve…

Update: Tim Grieve writes that the call for investigation was in the comment section. In responded that there’s a difference between the published work at Wizbang and the contents of the comment section. Both are valuable, and since all comments are directly linkable anyone who wants to quote and link comments can do so. As with any high traffic site that allows comments – LGF, Daily Kos, Atrios, etc.- comments at Wizbang are the viewpoints of their respective authors.

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  1. bullwinkle September 29, 2005
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