Monday, September 05, 2005

Has Katrina saved US media?

Today I read this BBC news article that suggests US media has finally got their teeth back after years of being kind to the Bush Administration. Could the government response to hurricane Katrina be the impotice that leads journalism to return to being a voice of dissent?

The author points out that large US media outlets are under the influence of the same corporate bodies that support politicians, and in the current cultural-economic climate, money is power. So much power, it seems, that it controls who gets a voice, or at least whose voices get the best amplification. So will moral indignation be enough to force media outlets to speak out? Are administrative mistakes serious enough to ignite this kind of attitude change?

5 comments:

Bob K said...

I'm finding myself wondering why this same media isn't asking the mayor of New Orleans why he didn't have a better evacuation plan. He goes on air and bashes the feds and takes absolutely no responsibility.

citystreams said...

I agree with Bob. Why were all those school buses just sitting there collecting water when the Louisana legislational flood plan was evacuation by means of city transportation and school buses in the event of flooding? It seems like they didn't even follow their own plans and instead of admitting fault or even partial fault they want to make this a racial issue and blame the president. I think the media has been pulling towards the left for the last forty years. And there hasn't been an exception since Bush took office. He's been bombarded with criticism on every side. Sadly most of the issues he's been blamed for were issues like this ~ as if it was his fault there was a hurricane.

Ryan said...

do you watch the daily show? john stewart feels the same way as bbc, that the media is finally getting it. he led his audience in applauding the us media which he so expertly mocks.

Dan said...

I agree. The media is finally asking the tough questions attempting to get accountability from leadership. Now that Chertoff has removed Brown from his Katrina relief duties it will be interesting to see if anything changes. The media reports indicate his experience with disaster recovery efforts is nil-to-none. Who knows if/when the dust will settle and the truth will be known.

-Craig said...

I wonder why I go back and reaad old blogs people post - must be part of my ADD nature.

Anyway...what I've been wondering all this time is how is the response (or supposed lack there of) the fault of the government? The media - being the media - has focused on what brings in the ratings. Blaming Bush does just that. The media hasn't gotten their teeth back - the media is driven by ratings. Each and every network - cable or broadcast - revolves around ratings. Ratings = ad revenue and ad revenue means more $$$ for that network. You don't think ABC, NBC or any of the other broadcast network makes a single dime on primetime do you? They make money on news - it's cheap, it's everywhere, and it's easy to manipulate.

The media feeds us what they want us to hear/see/read - and please don't think any other way. I spent 5 years at Michigan State learning how to do just that. That's also why I chose to let my degree be an unemployment degree - I refuse to work in an industry that so easily manipulates the very public they are proported to serve.

Why hasn't the media looked at the New Orleans flood plan? Do you know what it is? Lat July Mayor Ray Nagin and his office prepared a DVD (yes, a DVD) warning residents that if the city were to flood, they were on their own. To quote the Times-Picayune: "Mayor Ray Nagin, local Red Cross Executive Director Kay Wilkins and City Council President Oliver Thomas drive home the word that the city does not have the resources to move out of harm's way an estimated 134,000 people without transportation."

"You're responsible for your safety, and you should be responsible for the person next to you," one official said of the message.


Now imagine that this DVD was prepared to inform those 134,000 without transportation that they wouldn't be helped. How many of those 134,000 do you suppose had DVD players? And the message was never put on VHS or any other medium for that matter. Now that's preparation (Preparation H that is - and yes, the cynicism is getting deep).

Our media is far frame saved - who, what, when, where, and how are no longer taught in journalism classes (I know, because I was the journalism web master at MSU and I put the syllabus' up for all classes). It's all about the ratings.