From Our Prescott Valley, AZ Correspondent
The media has chosen for the most part to ignore the disastrous flooding in Louisiana because lower level, lacking in entertainment value, disasters don’t follow their news agenda guidelines. The current news coverage of the devastation pales in comparison to the 24-7 coverage of Katrina in 2005.
Somehow this statewide disaster, which technically involves a much larger area of Louisiana than the Katrina debacle is meaningless to the media. If a news report doesn’t include some of the usual standard components such as racism, terrorism, riots, politics or entertainment, the story is given low priority status and labeled unworthy for breaking news alerts.
News that involves people helping one another out of dangerous, life-threatening, and life changing situations has limited value to news organizations now. The negative factors and insertion of disinformation, misplaced blame and sidestepping of real issues seem to be the name of the news game anymore. Real news and stories are lost in the depths of negativity, sensationalism and unrelated issues.
Those affected by the overwhelming flooding are dumbfounded by the lack of national news coverage and have gone to social media to find out about lost loved ones, friends, and the status of their neighborhoods and homes. Limited and biased media coverage diminishes the scope of the disaster. Local responders, relief agencies and individuals are marginalized in their efforts to be of aid to desperate people when this type of reporting is the norm.
A concerted disaster relief effort is what rallies both the responders and those in need. Without coverage of the event in a straightforward manner, people in their own state and other parts of the country are unaware of the scope and depth of such a disaster. Instead, the comparisons to Katrina along with the woes of Katrina are still bantered back and forth today. With nearly 40 percent of Louisiana recently declared disaster areas, the media is still underplaying what happened in Baton Rouge, surrounding parishes and other hard hit areas of Louisiana.
The underlying motives of the media are to promote their own agenda and support the procedures of those who manage the news outlets. Manipulating the news has become the standard for reporting. Underreporting, not reporting , or inflecting the news and injecting their own interpretation of news stories has led to almost total distrust of and disdain for the media. When social media becomes the outlet for disaster communication, there is something seriously wrong with news reporting. The mastery of disinformation or no information appears to be the leading indicator for reporting the news.
In spite of the underreporting of this pivotal story, the people of Louisiana, local organizations and volunteers from other states have come together to make the real news with daring rescues, food and shelter aid, rebuilding efforts and personal comfort. The human spirit outweighs any news report. It’s just too bad the media fails to recognize and understand the significance of this disaster to the whole country and continues to underplay what Americans are capable of accomplishing on their own. Perhaps there will be changes in reporting when Louisianans and other Americans say, “Enough, “- on their own and at the ballot box.