Wednesday, August 31, 2005

New Orleans, Blogs, and MSM

Kathryn Cramer has collected a number of "before and after" photos put together by various citizen journalists, using digital photography to superimpose news photos of the devastation in New Orleans on the satellite photos from Google Earth. The blogs are providing information that the mainstream media has so far failed to do. Her comment:

An Afterthought: we blog-folk are doing this by the seat of our pants and actually getting somewhere. But as Xeni Jarin asks, "media evacuates, there is no grid, damage map?" Why do you see this attempt here and not on the CNN of MSNBC site?

This isn't a disaster movie. It's real. People care about specific people in specific places. They want to understand precisely where the water is 20 ft. deep, where the water is coming in. Many, many people have very specific, individual relationships to this city. The specifics we are being given just don't cut it. If I can look this stuff up, why don't they?

There is also this observation at Making Light:

Jim Macdonald started it. He said, in AIM:

White people find things. Black people loot things.

This was literally just as Patrick was about to post:

Yahoo News photos:

Photo number one: “Two residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store”.

Photo number two: “A young man walks through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store”.

Two guesses as to the relative melanin levels of “two residents” and “a young man”.

Remember, white people “find” things; black people “loot”. . . .

Here’s a photo with another great caption from the Associated Press:

As one person looks through their shopping bag, left, another jumps through a broken window, while leaving a convenience store on the I-10 service road south, in Metairie, La., Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The store is dark and deserted. The “shopper” and his buddy have entered and left it via a huge hole smashed in the store’s front window. What’s happening in this photo is more obviously looting than any of the photos I’ve seen of New Orleans citizens toting their plastic bags of food through the flood waters. Yet AP is calling this activity “shopping”—perhaps, because the young man with the plastic bag is patently white.

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