Sunday, October 09, 2005

Race, Lies and New Orleans

"A week after Katrina hit, a reporter for the British Guardian newspaper was curious whether there was any truth to the wild, gossipy and hysterical reports of murder, rape, incest, and stacked corpses at the New Orleans Superdome. He closely examined police reports, records, statements of city officials, and eyewitness accounts. He didn't find anything to substantiate the press reports, or official claims of the bedlam. His story was ignored in the mainstream press and lightly mentioned on a few obscure websites. A number of web respondents sneered at the story as a lie, or an apology for black crime by a left-leaning tabloid. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin quickly jumped into the fray, slandered his own city, and reinforced the worst racial stereotypes with his violence-is-everywhere rant on Oprah and national talk shows ... A month after these lonely press voices took the time to check facts, rather than run with gossip, a few newspapers did a tepid mea culpa and admitted that the apoplectic frothing tirades by a legion of talking-head commentators and their bloodthirsty headlines about 'Baghdad on the Bayou,' rape, murder, incest, stockpiled bloated corpses, mass looting, the breakdown of civilization and the dark side of America were exaggerated, or more bluntly a pack of lies."

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