Wednesday, September 21, 2005

New Storm, Same Hot Air

A quick epilogue to my lengthy rant about the media reaction to Katrina...

First, I should have acknowledged how valuable TVSpy's Shoptalk was in compiling the media coverage of the media coverage.

Second, we're already seeing just how extravagantly the media are taking the wrong lessons from Katrina. CNN and NBC are opening bureaus in New Orleans. Why? The problem was not that TV news failed to get good video from New Orlenas, the problem was that TV news institutionally fails to respond to boring, unphotogenic information like the 2001 FEMA prediction that the top three likely threats to the U.S. were a terror strike on New York, a flood in New Orleans and a San Francisco earthquake. We don't need bureaus anywhere. We need executives in New York to start crafting news that's forward-thinking about America's challenges, not over-saturated on the allegorical plundered barns now that the horses are gone. (Les Moonves, are you listening?)

Third, apparently the TV news media have ordained their first Katrina star. Sorry, their first Katrina-victim star. Not surprisingly, it's a child. (How long, after all, could a grown, capable, rational-and-angry black man like Mayor Nagin retain an uncritical spotlight?) That the media are giving over the airwaves to a Katrina survivor based solely on that survivor's charisma demonstrates not just that the media have not figured out how to cover, in compelling fashion, the boring, unfriendly, procedural matters that ACTUALLY shape our lives, but that it hasn't occurred to them to try.

Sorry, San Francisco. See you soon.

No comments:

Newer Post Older Post Home