Sep 9, 2005

Exposing Economic Prejudice in Media Coverage of Hurricane Katrina Disaster

A friend sent me an article and asked what I thought of it. It's writtern by Robert Tracinski, a journalist, who reveals his hypothesis about Hurricane Katrina revealing the real disaster--in his opinion of--get this--not the poor souls who perished because they were unable physically to leave or who could not afford to leave but the depravity of what he calls the "welfare state." Basically, he surmises that because of welfare, people in NOLA were somehow responsible for their fates, and he blamed the madness and chaos all on the "crime and squalor of the projects."

As he put it,

"There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit--but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals--and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep--on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves."

And further,

"The welfare state--and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages--is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting."

I won't further dignify his right-wing mania, but thought you might be interested in my reply:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What a pathetic bit of effluvia written by a White man who watches the BUSH-controlled propaganda-laden FOX News. Gimme a break. That, my dears, is ECONOMIC PREJUDICE at it’s ugliest. I am going to call that like I see it—the writer of that essay is a bigot. I have worked as the manager of a homeless shelter for years and seen plenty of economic prejudice in action, and that’s what it looks like.

Bush and his Neo-Conservative cronies are completely out of touch with reality—to say the least. Those thousands of AMERICANS in New Orleans died needlessly because the BUSH administration refused repeatedly to fund the completion of the levee project there—which the Army Corps of Engineers repeatedly—and I do mean REPEATEDLY—warned them about. Instead, 4 to 5 BILLION dollars U.S. PER MONTH goes to fund the Iraq war—the OIL WAR. And almost all military resources have been squandered to support the war in Iraq. Bush’s FEMA—which was absorbed into the Department of Homeland Security—has had extensive budget cuts so that most of their budget funds the, you guessed it, war in Iraq. The Bush administration knew there were no manpower or funds available to help the disaster—because manpower and funds were already maxed out to support the war in Iraq.

Those thousands of Americans in New Orleans did not need to die. The levee project should have been finished. And even as the levee did break, another White House would have busted their butts to get down there and save as many people as possible—regardless of skin color or economic circumstances. Not played golf all day the first day of the disaster—as thousands perished. Not hemmed and hawed and played a who-should-do-what game as thousands more perished, not arrived a lame five days after the disaster as thousands more perished. And most of all, when realizing that they didn’t galvanize help quickly enough, not flown down there for photo opportunities and flown back to more of the same—Iraq management as priority one.

Yes, the Media—which has been asleep for much of the Bush years—were TOLD to report the negative stuff. Karl Rove and his team of Spin Doctors instructed the media to dwell—not on the thousands of people who needed rescue and were DYING because of neglect—many of whom were elderly, sick, or children—and almost all of whom are POOR—they were instructed to keep the reporting on the few isolated incidences of some EXTREMELY frightened and dying people—to keep attention away from the ABOMINABLE and UNFORGIVEABLY LAX way the Bush administration responded to the disaster.

The Media have also been forbidden to take photographs of the dead since a couple of days ago. That’s right. So American citizens can disconnect from the physicality of the disaster if they don’t see its evidence. There is also no published body count. Doesn’t anyone want to know how many of our people died?

No, those poor people did not deserve to die. Their poverty and inability to get into a car and drive out of town when the Mayor ordered the evacuation of the city did not mean they should die. The fact that a few crazies raised a ruckus does not mean that those many thousands of innocent people deserved to die. Their deaths are by complete and horrendous negligence, and their blood is directly on the hands of the Bush administration.

I have cried and I have cried. We have donated to the Red Cross (www.redcross.org) and we have offered our guest bedroom to house a displaced family (www.hurricanehousing.org), if one can make it this far.


If anything good comes out of this whole disaster it will be the Right turning against Bush and to his ultimate downfall.



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