The media shelf life for natural disasters is notoriously short: Within two weeks of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which cut a $30 billion destructive path through south Florida and the Louisiana coast, the story virtually disappeared from network newscasts. But experts and journalists predict that mounting questions about U.S. government preparation, policies and response to Hurricane Katrina will result in intense news coverage for months. Katrina "doesn't just have legs, it has tentacles," says Bob Lichter of the Center for Media and Public Affairs. ?Its implications reach into hot-button controversies involving race, poverty, economics and partisan politics. The reach of this story will make the O.J. Simpson case look like a news brief.? Network news analyst Andrew Tyndall predicts that TV news will focus on personal stories and massive aid efforts in the coming weeks, and then turn to looking at how relief efforts may have resulted in people dying. Stories on inner cities don't get much network attention "unless carnage is involved, and this is what you have" in New Orleans. In The New Yorker magazine this week, Nicholas Lemann writes, "We're all wondering what will become of New Orleans. A big American city has never before been entirely emptied of people, and had most of its housing rendered useless, and had all its basic systems fail at once."
As an amateur pundit, I am gloating. I had faith all along that these neoconservative, free-market fundamentalist philosopher-kings would trip on their own arrogance and stupidity sooner or later. As Allen Ginsberg used to sing, "Hypocrisy, is the key, to self-fulfilling prophecy." Catchy little calypso tune, that. Also a fine brief summary of a number of Greek tragedies.
So now the entire nation is clamoring for these bastards' heads for having done to New Orleans, on a much more egregious scale, what they did to New York City after 9-11--screw them on the public taxpayer funds necessary to protect the commons, which they're flushing down the putrid privy-hole of Iraq for the sake of their cronies at Bechtel, Halliburton and The Carlyle Group.
Ordinary people, who in the last election voted as though they were rooting for a local sports team, will now start to see what an enormously corrupt pork barrel the entire Homeland Security bureaucracy is. And other malfeasance, such as l'Affaire Rove-Plame, will enjoy a coattail effect as corruption scandal follows corruption scandal. I still have my money on a Bush impeachment by 2007.
The problem with hundreds, if not thousands, of bloated corpses in New Orleans is that it's much more difficult to shoot the photographer and claim he was trying to run a checkpoint, or whine to your base, at closed-door Nuremburg rallies, that the liberal media is deliberately censoring the GOOD things you're doing in Louisiana. I keep telling Neuza this, but she doesn't believe me: These people are bent on turning this nation into a Third-World military dictatorship. Like North Korea.