Sunday, October 02, 2005

The high voltage must be affecting their brains 

I try not to cite right-wing blogs and respond, because it could be a full-time job. But I noticed this PowerLine story. It's a lovely commentary about how the "liberal" media is racist, because they exaggerated the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. (Yes, these are the same right-wing types who blew a gasket when it was suggested that President Bush was racist. I see they're not above that kind of slam themselves. Also, is FOX, and particularly Shepard Smith, included, I wonder? They were out in front on this as much as anyone. Racist anti-Bush bastards!)

Anyway, while lamenting the "horrible reporting," the wingnut du jour writes (my emphasis):

"It's my view that even the MSM's suggestion that the death count would reach 10,000 was based on stereotyping -- the view that the poor and predominantly African-American residents who didn't leave New Orleans couldn't save themselves and, as a class, needed government intervention to survive."
AAAARGGHHH! Or, if you choose to live in the world of actual facts, this "MSM suggestion" was not a suggestion at all, but in fact Mayor Ray Nagin's estimate! Good lord, are they so desperate to paint liberals as racists that they'll blatantly ignore a fact, and hope readers' memories don't stretch back three weeks?

Most "bias" critics intentionally ignore the factors that most strongly drive the media so they can blame everything on ideology. Of course the media's going to use an estimated death toll -- particularly a high one -- once it's out there. It doesn't matter so much where it came from or whether it was computed or pulled from thin air. Sad but true, and it has nothing to do with politics.

Now, criticize Nagin for blurting out the hasty estimate -- like this USA Today editorial does -- and you've got a solid point. But PowerLine was just embarassingly wrong (or pathetically desperate) in its attempts to smear the media here.

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