Monday, September 05, 2005

Outrage for Reuters Katrina Article

Reading the article (which I've linked to the title of this post) I found the usual litany of accusations, without a single reference to any source for background information, and without any facts in the body of the article to support the allegations and blame so freely given. I was hot. Now my wrists are all sore from typing. I'm going sue Reuters for some incurable wrist disease or other. They'll be sorry. Thanks to "Gates of Vienna" for the heads up. Their blog is at http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/

-----------------------(text of my letter of extreme annoyance)---------------

To the editors of Reuters News Service,

This note is meant to alert you of the rage and disgust I feel at reading the opinions, insinuations, and biased modifiers gratuitously inserted in the article under the byline of your writer Mark Egan, among the occasional facts in his article “New Orleans collects dead as officials dodge blame” which I found at your website http://today.reuters.com/news/NewsArticle.aspx.

In an article of approximately 1050 words, some 135 of them — 13 per cent, if statistics matter — are unsupported, un-answered assertions that the devastation and suffering are the fault of the Federal government generally, the incompetence of FEMA, or of President Bush himself.

The piece’s lack of professionalism — of the most basic objectivity called for by journalistic standards — is has not yet become fully the standard for reporting of events by Reuters and other previously respectable news organizations. But it is alarmingly characteristic. Still, this article is among the most egregious I've encountered. Without citing any background or support information whatsoever, it blames the Bush Administration and various federal officials and agencies for the vast human suffering in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

This is intolerable, not because I admire Bush, but because I have some knowledge of disaster preparedness and response.

Egan, Wutkoski, P. Barbar, M. Babineck, E. Xeba, P. Simao, et al., [i.e., the contributing reporters] may have among them some facts in the situation, but the article does nothing to inform us of how they conclude suffering was caused or enhanced by any action or failure of the Federal Government.

It would be interesting to know if any of the reporters contributing to this pack of slander have ever had so much as a day’s training in first aid, emergency response, medical triage, disaster preparedness, disaster relief, or the laws and restrictions deriving from Section 1385 of Title 18, United States Code, known as the Posse Comitatus Act. [governing the use of federal military forces for domestic law enforcement duties.]

Could a single one of these gutless scribblers actually describe in any detail what is required to load, fuel, crew, and transport a convoy of relief supplies through two hundred kilometers of blasted landscape, removing trees and debris every few feet; providing food and shelter for the drivers along the way, and ensuring sufficient fuel and supplies so that once they arrive, they can sustain themselves for whatever period they may have to wait for their own re-supply or relief? Can any one of these alleged reporters describe for even a SINGLE type of helicopter, its rate of fuel consumption, fuel capacity, load capacity, crew requirements, and range? Ditto for Naval Vessels...

If not, these writers presume to pass judgment on a phenomenon far beyond their reckoning.

The citing of al-qaeda linked sources in this context is particularly repellent, indicating the writer’s sense that we readers must give credence to the suggestion from TERRORISTS that the suffering from Katrina flows from “the wrath of God.”

I am sickened by the continuing descent of journalism into an unrepentant spewing of allegations, conjecture, surmise, and feeling presented as fact. This is not reporting; it is sneering insult, partisan garbage slinging, designed to infuriate not inform.

This is conspicuously and precisely the reason readers like me are abandoning the MainStream Media in search of reportage with somewhat more reliable descriptions and footnotes.

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