Katrina represented an unmitigated media disaster....Indeed.
Few of us can forget the reports from two years ago. CNN warned that there were "bands of rapists, going block to block." Snipers were reportedly shooting at medical personnel. Bodies at the Superdome, we were told, were stacked like cordwood. The Washington Post proclaimed in a banner headline that New Orleans was a "A City of Despair and Lawlessness," insisting in an editorial that "looters and carjackers, some of them armed, have run rampant." Fox News anchor John Gibson said there were "all kinds of reports of looting, fires and violence. Thugs shooting at rescue crews."
TV reporters raced to the bottom to see who could moralistically preen the most. Interviewers transformed into outright scolds of administration officials. Meanwhile, the distortions, exaggerations and flat-out fictions being offered by New Orleans officials were accelerated and amplified by the media echo chamber. Glib predictions of 10,000 dead, and the chief of police's insistence that there were "little babies getting raped," swirled around the media like so much free-flowing sewage.
It was as though journalistic skepticism of government officials was reserved for the White House, and everyone else got a free pass.
But rather than admitting the egregious falsehood of their coverage, the MSM patted itself on the back and declared that Katrina had ushered in a new era of journalism.
The deluge in New Orleans elicited a deluge of wish-fulfillment in the media, as though the hurricane was a biblical sign that something was very wrong in George W. Bush's America. "Everything changed" because of Katrina, insisted CNN's Anderson Cooper. Translation: We're going to tell the story we want to tell about the country from now on. Race and class become the chief prisms for viewing the disaster. Katrina was portrayed as the result of global warming, which (of course!) is Bush's fault.Cooper was right -- everything did change in the sense that from Katrina on the MSM has abandoned any pretense of objectivity. What we now have is unabashed advocacy journalism rooted in mid-twentieth century liberal bias. No less than Hollywood the MSM today is telling stories rather than printing the truth.
Read Jonah's piece here.