Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Media Storm, Coming and Going as they Please?

The horrendous events and tragedy caused by Hurricane Katrina truly boggle the mind.  I encourage everyone to donate to the National Red Cross to help the staggering number of victims out in this time of need.  Many of these people are uninsured, and many of those who are insured lack flood insurance in their policies, meaning they have lost everything.

I keep seeing the reports from the region, and I really have to voice one major gripe.  WHY DO THE EVENING NEWS ANCHORS HAVE TO BE LIVE ON-SITE ?  DO THEIR BROADCASTS HAVE TO ORIGINATE FROM THE HEART OF THE TRAGEDY?  This is utterly inexcusable.  There is almost total destruction in New Orleans, and yet there’s Brian Williams (and I’m sure his counterparts on all of the other network are there, as well)…broadcasting from a makeshift downtown newsdesk with his freshly-scrubbed face and earnest looks of concern using the decimated city as nothing more than a live scenic backdrop.  All roads in and out of the city are underwater, so when I think of the resources and logistics it must have taken to get him and his people in there, their trucks, their generators, their satellite uplinks, their support crew, their food, water, lighting not to mention a sizable security contingent (or even worse, diverting local police from search-and-rescue?)  to protect them from the lawlessness that seems to be taking over the region,  I want to scream at my television:  “You are in the middle of a mandatory evacuation from a major disaster area, people are still losing their lives all around you, the authorities are telling people they must leave and are still scrambling to save the thousands still trapped there—So what the hell business to YOU  have being there in the middle of all that—so you can sit behind a fucking desk?!!!  The people trapped in this city have no power, no drinkable water, no food, no toilets, no transportation, and yet you have the audacity and apparent ability to freely go IN and function normally while so many others are desperate to get OUT.  Since there is no place safe in New Orleans itself to stay, I’m assuming that he and his crew gets airlifted in and out to comfy lodgings well outside the area—using helicopters and other transportation resources that could have been much better-used to find survivors or deliver time-critical relief supplies.  What kind of message does this send?  Don’t take the evacuation talk seriously?  If you are a celebrity and part of a news organization, the rules don’t apply to you?  Let the poor folks below die in the toxic stew of contaminated water, but we’ll move heaven and earth if that’s what it takes to get our talent on the scene, We’ll be fine up here around the newsdesk.  How’s the background light?  “More San Pellegrino, Brian?”

I am not saying keep the journalists and camera people out—they are serving a vital function in communicating the extent of this national tragedy to the world, which helps direct relief efforts and donations, but in this situation why can’t the goddamn Network anchors broadcast from their regular location in NY or Washington and if they must, put a fucking picture of the destruction behind their desks instead of adding to the problem by being in the way and sucking up valuable resources from the region?