Monday, October 03, 2005

Katrina Rumors Part Duex.

Based on what I've read in the last few days most of the rest of the rumors about the rampant crime in New Orleans are false as well.

We already saw that the rumors about the raped and murdered 7 year old was false. And of the murders and mayhem in the Superdome, but now the big three newspapers and the the New Orleans Tribune have checked the rest of the rumors out and were found wanting.

No urban warfare. A few scattered shots. No one shooting at helicopters.

No reported rapes.

Few gunshot wounds.

and one columnist reports no cholera.


Blame

lack of comunication

fear (Terror can make people halucinate, it's happened to me.)

racism and classism.


My personal story is that in the first few days news sources were at least reporting the rumors as rumors. When a news source provided a picture of a person passing on the rumors, what I saw was a white person believing the worst of the poor blacks around them.

As the LA Times reported:
[Maj. Ed] Bush[, of the National Guard,] said. "What I saw in the Superdome was just tremendous amounts of people helping people."

But, Bush said, those stories received scant attention in newspapers or on television.


There were rumors also about how the evaccuees taken to other Louisiana town and cities were looting, raping, running around with guns too.

The earlier report in the UK Guardian (which on September 6th had already put to rest the rumor of the raped seven year old) also showed that the rumors of evaccuees rioting in their new cities were unfounded too.

I don't know if it is sad that it took the major newspapers over 3 weeks longer to disconfirm the rumors, but the American media's sources are more definite about their facts, while the Guardian still had to say mostly that the rumors "appeared" to be false. I always had suspicions from the time I first heard about them especially about the rapes and murders of babies and small children. When I read about a seven year old girl raped and murdered in the Superdome and then read a report about a seven year old girl raped and murdered in the Convention Center-both times by a slit throat, I felt certain what was happening. I went searching for confirmation of my doubts and found the Guardian article.

Racism is getting a big boost from the internet. This is not on 'out of the way' sites, with few readers or twisted forums that might have 6 hits a day, but it is being played out in many very popular message boards and chatrooms.

The trends of diminishing racism was reversed first by Nixon's Southern Strategy when the Republicans, in order to capture the people who did not like the Civil Rights stance of the Democrats, told racists that it was okay to be a bigot. Hate radio lit a torch from the GOP meme, and the internet has exploded it, especially among those also passing the talking points put out by GOP sources. I've even seen the coordinators of right wing talking points posters defend people who continually offer up overt bigotry. I do not know if all this bigoty has the sanction of the GOP, but I do know that it is the same people offering up both lines.

If you would like to view the how this plays out try any major aol message board or freerepublic.com forum. The more outrageous the rumor the better it will be received by a large group of people who need to hear something more incredible than the latest claim Rush Limbaugh has made about minorities. There are still people who are ready to believe anything passed on about "those people" that confirms their theory of self superiority.

I want people to remember the terrible rumors told about what the people of New Orleans supposedly were doing when they read the new rumors, where people in the refugee camps start telling incredible stories about what evaccuees are been doing now.
This is a madness that needs to stop. I'm especially appalled at Newsweek which gave a lot of space to one camp director's seemingly wild claims about the actions of some evaccuees. All it takes is an article like that to boost the racism levels in this country, and bigotry has quite enough help these days, thank you.

In Katrina's Wake, Inaccurate Rumors Sullied Victims

Here you go Newsweek. Read one of your linked bloggers and see how this incredibly unbelievable story of evaccuees blowing their FEMA checks on limo rides is swallowed wholesale by people who love to hate.

Two other fine reports debunking the rumors about 'horrors' in New Orleans.

Along with the Washington Post article above two other fine reports debunking the rumors about 'horrors' in New Orleans (and I'm beginning to believe that even the alligators got a bad rap) were LA Times': Katrina Takes a Toll on Truth, News Accuracy

and New York Times': Fear Exceeded Crime's Reality in New Orleans

Reading either report requires registration and they will be hidden within a week of publication. Search Google Groups on the titles for usenet copies. Hopefully, someone will have put them up.

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