Friday, September 09, 2005

Media Logic

For some members of the fifth estate hurricane Katrina has whipped up a couple of hard to reconcile themes. On the one hand the war in Iraq was said to deplete the number of troops available to respond to the crisis. On the other hand racism was said to account for a lack of interest in saving a largely black New Orleans population from the ensuing flood. The casual observer may buy either of these claims--I'll buy neither. Nevertheless, both can't be true. Either the troops were available but not ordered to enter the city, or troops were not available regardless of motivation. Media outlets promoting both theories are suffering from depleted ranks of logical thinkers.

Incidently, there is no shortage of bizarre claims. Here's one new to me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's no secret that the media can come up with cockamamie (I haven't used that word in a long time) theories to explain current events. The best we as the citizenry can do is view everything we read with a healthy skepticism. However, we should not try to stifle their jobs, and I am glad to read the government has backed off their attempt to keep the media away from witnessing the body recovery operation in N.O. This is not just a federal issue, the local homeland security said that they thought it was "not right" that the media not be allowed to witness. Just because the media can be a thorn in the side of the government does not mean government should try to remove its critic. Criticize the media without mercy, but eliminate the public's only witness? Never. Why is it that the government to this day, two weeks after the hurricane, has never reported a body count?

9:13 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Much of the media blow hot and cold on taking pictures of dead bodies. The issue became politicised over showing coffins from Iraq; coffins from Afghanistan were off limits. Nick Berg's murder was filmed for them and still they got squeamish. On 9/11, in the world largest media market, bodies were raining down like hail from above, but MSM didn't want to inflame viewers. So now they want pictures of dead people in New Orleans? Their motives are transparent; They now want us inflamed by their propaganda.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Mike Liveright said...

I agree with Bob that neither is probably true. On the other hand, (and if you know me, you knew that there had to be an OTOH), I disagree with the formal logic. Let us pretend that

. a) 50% of the troops were in Iraq.

. b) 50% of the response that there would be to whites.

Then if both of these pretends were true then there would only be 25% of the troops sent to deal with Katrina than if the troops were all in the USA and all those were, were sent to deal with Katrina.

7:06 PM  
Blogger Menlo Bob said...

or C. The New Orleans emergency plan stated that city buses were to be used to evacuate those who had no other means to escape. What percent of the school and city bus population was non-black? What percent of the drivers were serving in Iraq?

7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The point is not whether the media can't make up their mind whether and when to show dead bodies. Clearly, the media is of two minds on this, perhaps depending on the editor. TIME has no problems showing photos of people falling from the WTC or dead bodies in the water in N.O. Television seems to back off. The point is only this - should gov't limit the access of the media in order to spin their own propaganda? Clearly the answer is no, although the administrations (local and national) wanted it to be yes. They couldn't argue that they shouldn't be in charge of protecting newsmen, like they argued in Iraq. Regardless of media bias, gov't itself should not limit the press in order to get its own message out.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Smoking Jay said...

Hate to say this, but the argument by anon above is hard to argue against. While I resent the obvious media bias present in the coverage, I have to agree that the government should not limit the press. Over time, the bias should be exposed on its own.

The problem is the level of apathy and lack of perspestive from the populus. The average person really believes the media as the purveyor of truth...and this hurts all of society.

5:20 PM  

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