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Friday, September 02, 2005

Hurricane Katrina: digital divide and the racial issue

Seen from Europe, what you see on your TV in the aftermath of the hurricane Katrina is black people - maybe better to say African-American people - looting shops and mall centers. With almost no historical or sociological explanation about the reasons of this anarchy. Images and reports could therefore give the impression that the victims are themselves the guilty... And I remembered an old French book whose title was "Labor classes, dangerous classes".

So I expected to find more feedback and maybe a debate on potential racism in the disaster's images in American media and especially in the American blogosphere. Thanks to Jack Schafer for his smart article ("why no mention of race or class in TV's Katrina coverage?") in Slate but I'm obliged to say that blogs failed to give a voice to the silent who don't have access to media. Here the digital divide between the Poor and the Rich, blacks and whites, found its perfect translation: images were not discussed or balanced because mostly they were provided by non African-American people.

Racial diversity is often discussed in American newsrooms, but what about racial diversity in the blogosphere? The New Orleans disaster could raise questions on how the internet is just a reflection of our society. Theoretically, blogs denounce "mainstream media", but in the last days - with a few exceptions - they behave themselves as non-diversified media. In my opinion, the "mainstream blogosphere" has already begun to deal with the Bush administration responsibility and is proceeding with its own political agenda. Too bad for the victims: they are just a pretext or a stake in a more global "political game".

Sources: Slate, Black Voices - AOL, Black content for black people, BET.com telethon, MSNBC, Wikipedia, WWLTV blog, Online Journalism Review (with an index of missing persons lists), Poynteronline.

Posted by Bertrand Pecquerie on September 2, 2005 at 02:06 PM in m. Improving editorial quality, n. Online strategies, o. Ethics and Press Freedom, q. Regional and ethnic newspapers | Permalink


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Tracked on Sep 2, 2005 3:20:06 PM


Carl G. Mueller, Nam 68
PO Box 120707
38941 North Bay Drive
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315-8944
(909) 866-9310

To Whom It May Concern:

Our Government, which is self proclaimed as the rich and powerful USA, is allowed to get away with deaths, starvation, and suffering to the poor less-educated and powerless because of the smoke-screening by the 5 major “tax-gifted” media corporations.

An example of media smoke-screening for the government is easily seen in the LA Times headline on 9/2/05. “Snipers fire on rescue efforts and corpses litter public areas as rage builds among refugees.” & Fox news is laughable in its hypnotic smoke-screening.

Tax-gifted media produces spiritless reporters
Why are we not seeing the media questing the victims who where supposedly fired upon by snipers? We only hear second hand stories. A gunshot could be a call for help. According to “early reports” by the LA Times and Fox cable news, regarding the aftermath of Katrina, the snipers appear to be the only reason why help did not arrive as fast as possible. These unproven sources about the snipers being the reason for delayed help, is the backbone of FOX early news stories and flattering of the government. The 24,7, Fox news personal hypnotically believe their own news BS, and the major 5 “tax-gifted” media outlets are gutless to report this hypnotic effect forced on the public. This prevents the public to get upset and rebel against the government, thus media cooperation’s are rewarded with tax benefiting laws and reporters are nothing more then spiritless slaves because for the most part the reporters know the truth.

My media learning curve
I, with only a small learning curve from weapons of mass destruction war, can see that the LA Times stories about snipers are frequently a smoke screen using hearsay. In order to make the second hand hearsay stories of snipers appear more acceptable, the hearsay sniper smoke is mixed with real factual news reporting. Real factual quality news reporting shows “many sources of videos” of death, and suffering. Another screening used by the LA Times is calling home-destroyed American citizens refugees. Calling Americans refugees; Americans who are in their own city, teaches me that the LA Times wants to lessen the value of these citizens by separating or screaming them apart from so called real educated citizens. This degrading of citizens to a refugee status now allows the LA Times to plant the smoke hidden seeds of justification. Justification as to why the National Guard had to first protect property owned by the rich businesses before giving water to the poor less-educated dim-witted black refugees. This same continues hypnotic pattern by the media justified for our so-called WMD war. If the hypnotic pattern worked to the point we could go to war to steal oil, then the hypnotic pattern could easily work to show Texas loves black dim-witted refugees and the President is truly hurt to see these dim-witted refugees floating in Louisiana Streets.

Loving feelings for their starving children
The National Guards prevention from allowing “refugees” form entering the rich establishments in the French Quarters for life saving food, water, shelter and the white toilets, might be a little bit justified, knowing that the take over is by refugees and not citizens of that community who have loving feelings for their starving children. I too would shot at a person stopping me from getting life saving water. That goes double if that person trying to stop me is working for a government that is responsible for allowing me to be in need of live saving water. Right?

TV Media:
TV has done me a great service when interviewing many of the poor people, and let me be honest; they seem to be very uneducated to the point that I’m smart and their dimwitted. “I really didn’t know that so many people in one area could seem so dumb”. To me this dimwittedness is a tragedy that needs to be corrected too. Now if a guy as dumb as me knows it’s a tragedy then the smart people know it too, but don’t want to pay to correct that tragedy. The smart people would rather laugh at the dummies floating in the streets. Oh my God, how could I write something so cruel? Thank You Jesus for the strength to do this.

Proof why smart people would laugh at Katrina’s street floaters.
Mr. Brian Lamb is the founding CEO of C-Span. 12/5/04 interviewed Mark Edmundson who has a Ph.D in English from Yale University and is a Professor of English at the University of Virginia and Author of the book “Why Read”. Edmundson say, “Though many professors claim to be on the left, the fact is that they do not trust, or sometimes, even much like, everyday, relatively unschooled people. In fact, they tend to despise the people on whose behalf they claim to be working. I think that the real problem for people left and liberal, like myself, is a strong mistrust of everyday people. They love Bush. They love NASCAR. They love football. They’re beyond help.”

Downplaying “the reason for street floaters” prevents a revolt, thus the need for spineless reporters.
C-Span 9/2/05, justifies for the National Guards actions to protect property before helping dying “refugees” by saying, “New Orleans has a spotted history of corruption.” I say, “What large American city is not spotted with a history of corruption, Washington DC?” On the same show, another reason used by C-Span to water down responsibility of discrimination by the National Guard was to blame a “Bureaucratic Mentality”. My bureaucratic learning curve says, “The sniper source is Karl Rove; he has charismatic authority intertwined with criminal behavior and the manipulative dark power.”

NBC withholding of negative remarks about President Bush
NBC deleted Rap Star Kanye West’s remarks of President Bush during a live telecast on 9/2/05. NBC deleted West’s remark, which was being broadcasted for the benefit of Katrina’s street floaters and other victims. The remark deleted was “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” Great job of comprehending the obvious!

While viewing street floaters the forgiving Christians praise Caesar
I say, “The Jesus loving Southern Christians are political puppets, and now, needing to help the poor like Jesus would, we see their St. John denying weak human self. The media makes it appear like the refugee slaves are the sinners, because they are to dim-witted to leave the city. Next the 5 major “tax-gifted” media corporations and their army of spiritless reporters, manipulate the ever forgiving Christian puppets to praise Caesar.”

I shall stop the pampering of non-Southerners and tell it like it is:
The simple fact is the poor dumb and powerless disgust the rich and powerful of both colors. If I’m wrong then way aren’t the powerful leaders for the Nation of Islam upset enough to provoke “at least a verbal conflict” against rich and powerful Whites? I think the answer is that the American Nation of Islam still sees itself as a bunch of dull-witted spiritless slaves. Where as the so-called radical Islamics in Iraq and Afghanistan, see themselves as Divine Warriors fighting the evil invader, Caesar Neron, 666.

Carl G. Mueller, Nam 68
Watchdog group shows Federal Secrecy ….. http://www.OpenTheGovernment.org

Imam W. Dee Mohammed @The Mosque Cares
PO Box 1061
Calumet City, Ill 60409

Minister Louis Farrakhan
236 Massachusetts Ave., N.E., suite 610
Washington, D.C. 20002

Posted by: Carl G Mueller at Sep 6, 2005 10:12:59 PM

Hurricane Katrina has caused a lot of destruction and alot of people to loss everything they own. My prayers are with them, but my question is why wasn't the people of New Orleans told to get out earlier. They knew almost a week and a half that this storm was serious. Why did it take the
government so long to get in there and get those people out after the storm? Twenty five percent of New Orleans population lives below poverty. So, knowing this why wasn't those people helped BEFORE the storm? Why is it that Bush started a victoms relief fund 3 days after 9/11 and a whole week and two days after katrina the government is moving in slow motion. What is really going on with America. If those people in New Orleans where white they would have been rescued that same day. Bush doesn't care about poor black people. We are not a third world country. I am ashamed to be called an american!

Posted by: Tracey Johnson at Sep 6, 2005 8:00:34 PM

The Katrina issue is not a black issue, however, the black issue has been decisive in the Katrina issue. PLEASE, PLEASE UNDERSTAND THE DIRECTION OF CAUSATION. Katrina is indiscriminate whereas people are not. (Common sense)

So the media have for many years sensationalised the criminalising of black people on TV (we all know this as indisputable fact). But now the media is spoilt for choice, the current situation has a lot of black people in one place, some of whom happen to be old men and women, cripples, infants, etc but that fact is somehow made irrelevant. The media is now like a child at a candy store, too excited about all the different angles they can give on the "criminal blacks" and "poor suffering whites". All they want to show is the "usual suspects" doing what the media loves to show them doing.

I ask you, what percentage of the American population is black and what is white? Then calculate/count how many crimes are committed and the diversity of crime. You will find that the majority group (whites) commit the most crimes (in levels not percentage)and with the widest diversity because of the simple law of averages. However, watching the news, one would think that America has a majority of black people who all commit crimes.

Can we stop kidding ourselves please? The response to Katrina could have been pre-empted but it wasn't. I will not rule out race but the mounting historical evidence puts forward a serious argument for racially motivated decision-making by the government.


Posted by: Curious at Sep 5, 2005 6:54:58 PM

These people are poor and uneducated for the most part. The only thing they know how to do is survive. You don't see the white people for the most part because they were able to afford to get out and to leave. They had home insurance and transportation.

The problem I have with this whole racial thing is people like Jesse Jackson who make it thier point in life to add fuel to the fire. He asks why can't these people be put into hotels instead of stadiums and tent cities? Common sense would say duh, there are way too many people! Ya know others have paid for hotel rooms in these other cities uneffected by Katrina. There just isn't a supply to give.

Then you have the whole issue of supplies being slow to arrive. I guess its easy to pack up all that stuff onto trucks and have it delivered instantly? Nobody knew the levee would burst. The mobilization was there to supply hurricane support, not the flooding of the entire city. It takes time to get National Guard from other states to load up and mobilize.

This isn't about black people being treated unfairly. Its about black leaders wanting exposure and votes.

I won't even get into Kanye West and his crazed outburst.

Posted by: Shane Shwockus at Sep 3, 2005 2:30:42 PM

My mother used to say that the less we have, the more it means to us. Her words come to mind as I peruse accounts of Katrina’s devastation. Almost everyone touched by the power of that hurricane has lost their entire lives; they have been stripped down, reduced to almost nothing.

You may wonder, not unlike myself, why so many images of the hurricane victims you have seen, especially in New Orleans, have been of Blacks or African-Americans. Has our media suddenly become a paragon of equal representation? What we have in New Orleans is a several hundred-year-old problem displaying its gory consequences before our very eyes.

From the US Census (2000), here is a pre-Katrina breakdown of the per capita income in New Orleans by race:

White:(28% of population) $31,971
Latino:(3% of the population) $16,151
Asian:(2% of the population) $13,826
Native American: (0.2%) $13,151
Black or African American:(67%) $11,332

Those of you who have lived in or visited New Orleans, may already be aware of these facts by inference. In one of the few cities where Blacks are most congregated (Blacks form only 12% of the entire US population otherwise), Blacks are already devastated by intense racism and hypersegregration with severe financial ramifications.

You would have noticed during your visit to the former principal slave port, sprawling mansions on one side of the street and shacks on the other. This is where Blacks invented Jazz, Black music refined into the purest expression of freedom to date. Jazz has spread all over the world and become symbolic of American culture. But America is yet to accept and change its other symbol—that of eternal Black inequality, underdevelopment, suffering, and bondage- because that is exactly what the poor who could not leave New Orleans were in- bondage.

It is more than devastating, more than cruel that the majority of those most harmed in New Orleans are the Blacks who had no way to get out and the least possessions of all. According to my mother, they have lost the most.

Posted by: Eseohe Arhebamen at Sep 2, 2005 10:55:10 PM

And what we are seeing from Dean Alva is white supremacist rhetoric and disdain for social justice at its worst

Posted by: D Leonard at Sep 2, 2005 7:12:18 PM

What we are seeing here in the Gulf Coast, especially in New Orleans is an ignorance of a race. The images of the looting and the desperation are poor black people. Majority of these people act as if nothing will happen to them, and we also notice how certain people do not want to better themselves. I am sad with the images, but also we are seeing what happens when people ignore authorities and think they know it all.

Posted by: Dean Alva at Sep 2, 2005 3:52:30 PM

What we are seeing here in the Gulf Coast, especially in New Orleans is an ignorance of a race. The images of the looting and the desperation are poor black people. Majority of these people act as if nothing will happen to them, and we also notice how certain people do not want to better themselves. I am sad with the images, but also we are seeing what happens when people ignore authorities and think they know it all.

Posted by: Dean Alva at Sep 2, 2005 3:32:21 PM