A Quick Side-StepI went to Canada not just for entertainment reasons, but also for personal ones, which I'll expound on at a later date. While up there, I followed the unfolding Katrina catastrophe each night on television and in the Canadian press. Again, I'll have some comments on "foreign" coverage of Katrina another time.
It's stupid to just repeat the sort of common-sense things the networks have been feeding us -- help these people, give to the Red Cross, donate blood, etc. You already know to do this, and I hope you have. My wife and I have contributed money to the relief efforts, and we expect to continue contributing as we are able to over the next few weeks.
As for the bigger picture -- the complete and utter failure of our government to prepare for and properly help the victims the aftermath of Katrina -- which, btw, was obvious to anyone with a brain in their head at least a week ago -- there are so many aspects to touch on about this monumental fiasco that it's hard to know where to start, but this article by the BBC covers a lot of ground more concisely than I could (and serves the double purpose of accurately summarising how the foreign media views the US -- and the US media's -- response to this horror):
Amidst the horror, American broadcast journalism just might have grown its spine back, thanks to Katrina. National politics reporters and anchors here come largely from the same race and class as the people they are supposed to be holding to account.Read the full article, but I can't resist quoting this part:
They live in the same suburbs, go to the same parties, and they are in debt to the same huge business interests.
Giant corporations own the networks, and Washington politicians rely on them and their executives to fund their re-election campaigns across the 50 states.
It is a perfect recipe for a timid and self-censoring journalistic culture that is no match for the masterfully aggressive spin-surgeons of the Bush administration.
But last week the complacency stopped, and the moral indignation against inadequate government began to flow, from slick anchors who spend most of their time glued to desks in New York and Washington.
Government has been thrown into disrepute, and many Americans have realised, for the first time, that the collapsed, rotten flood defences of New Orleans are a symbol of failed infrastructure across the nation.
Blaming the state and city officials, as the president is already trying to do over Katrina, will not wash ... the dithering and incompetence that will be exposed will not spare the commander-in-chief, or the sunny, faith-based propaganda that he was still spouting as he left New Orleans airport last Friday, saying it was all going to turn out fine.
People were still trapped, hungry and dying on his watch, less than a mile away.
Black America will not forget the government failures, nor will the Gulf Coast region.
Follow-up #1: This piece by Brian Williams is surprisingly good and refreshingly candid. Good ammo against those idiots out there who are still trying to "defend" the first four days of inaction.