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Quote: CNN anchor Jack Cafferty growled about the media coverage of Katrina's victims yesterday on Wolf Blitzer's The Situation Room, name-checking me and citing my Wednesday column about the broadcasters' failure to acknowledge the race and economic class of the hardest-hit.
We knew it was coming. And yet, the poorest and the neediest and the most helpless of those in New Orleans, well, they're still there, aren't they? Despite the many angles of this tragedy?and lord knows there've been a lot of them in New Orleans?there is a great big elephant in the living room that the media seems content to ignore.
That would be until now. Slate.com's Jack Shafer wrote today in his column that television coverage has shied away from talking about race and class. Shafer says that we in the media are ignoring the fact that almost all of the victims in New Orleans are black and poor. And he's right. Almost every person we've seen, from the families stranded on their rooftops waiting to be rescued, to the looters, to the people holed up in the Superdome, are black and poor.
Many of them didn't follow the evacuation orders because they didn't have the means to get out of town. They just couldn't do it. A lot of them are sick, a lot of them don't have cars, a lot of them just didn't have the means to leave "The Big Easy." And they're still there.
This gave the Washington-based Blitzer a perfect opening to comment on race and class, but he stumbled and fell into a "Campanis moment." While airing file footage of victims trudging through hip-deep water looking for help, Blitzer, no racist, said:
You simply get chills every time you see these poor individuals, as Jack Cafferty just pointed out, so tragically, so many of these people, almost all of them that we see, are so poor and they are so black, and this is going to raise lots of questions for people who are watching this story unfold. [Emphasis added.] [Watch the video.]
Don't fight it. Just let the illuminados take over your mind. You be at bliss soon.
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