Jon Friedman, the media guy at Marketwatch, can drive me batty on occasion and this is one of those occasions: He bitches at news media for reporting at least one public official’s worst-case fear of the death toll in New Orleans and then nya-nyas them for being wrong and then acts of as if, gee, it’s not such a bad story after all. Hundreds have died and the counting is, tragically, not over yet. A city stands destroyed. Americans were abandoned in their hour of need. That’s bad, no matter the count. But Friedman says:
Perhaps they were being sincere, if misguided, in their projections. Or, maybe they were taking advantage of the tragedy to put their spin on the disaster and save their necks.
We’ll probably never get to the bottom of that question. We can be assured that the media deserve stinging slaps on the wrists for getting the facts so very wrong.
Listen, they quoted a public official and had no basis to question, disprove, or verify that estimate. There were no facts. So what exactly do you expect them to do: wade into the water, dodge bullets, and start counting bodies? And when the toll on 9/11 did not rise to similar fearful predictions, did you sit back and say, gee, it’s not so bad, is it? This is pointless.