Two pieces of common sense on Katrina

We have read a lot of nonsense about Katrina in the last week, and hopefully we have not added too much to the landfill ourselves. Two pieces recommend themselves today as examples of calm and common sense. Richard Baehr’s in The American Thinker and Bruce Kesler’s should be read by all. Richard Baehr’s piece explodes many of the Katrina myths that rose faster than the water. Kesler’s link-filled piece on the me-catastrophe proceeds with logic in our hysterical time.

We are busy on other matters, so we’re not posting a lot right now. But there is something in Katrina that goes beyond the Perfect Storm of the MSM seeking the ultimate “gotcha” for Bush that they have been doing ever since — since when? Florida 2000? Afghanistan? Enron? Abu Ghraib? Camp Cindy? You know the list.

The presence of multiple live cameras on the scene of a disaster 24/7, supplemented by cuts to amateur videos of scenes even more chilling (you remember the tsunami coming into that hotel and bar), shows not only desperate need, but by its very existence implies the ability to do something about the crisis. This is of course nonsense: appallingly, one of the things such coverage reveals is that somebody certainly has a helicopter standing by — but the refugees aren’t being offered a lift by your TV correspondent, his producer and the camera crew.

We think that, in addition to and underneath the partisan element so apparent in the TV coverage, and the strange religious element in which George Bush is granted godlike powers that he refuses to use to allieviate human suffering, there is an unconscious element at work. For many people, we think, pictures of suffering trigger an almost instinctual reaction: there’s a baby in that burning building — won’t somebody do something? and of course there are men who do something. But when it’s just a stand-up with a correspondent in front of a disaster, doesn’t the TV camera direct the plea at us — won’t somebody do something? This is a problem likely to get even greater as technology advances.

Most of us have a simple, though partial, solution. We can turn the TV off. Those in the media, however, cannot, and so they are at grave risk of being sucked into an impotent hysteria, perhaps simply as a by-product of being human.

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