Tuesday, September 06, 2005

More credit given

The Guardian’s Gary Younge, whose coverage of Cindy Sheehan has been criticized more than once by TAE, deserves credit for today’s piece which casts some doubt on some of the more wild stories that had been swirling around in the wake of Katrina last week.

There were two babies who had their throats slit. The seven-year-old girl who was raped and murdered in the Superdome. And the corpses laid out amid the excrement in the convention centre.

In a week filled with dreadful scenes of desperation and anger from New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina some stories stood out.

But as time goes on many remain unsubstantiated and may yet prove to be apocryphal.

New Orleans police have been unable to confirm the tale of the raped child, or indeed any of the reports of rapes, in the Superdome and convention centre.

I suppose the rampant propagation of rumors is inevitable in chaotic circumstances like last week, but it would be nice if journalists did not help them gain currency by credulously printing them as facts. Younge does credit the rumors, true or not, with having expedited the relief process, although he provides virtually no evidence to suggest that is so nor any reason to assume that it is. Still, he deserves credit for at least attempting to provide some truth and perspective to the wild stories rather than simply repeating them.

BTW, as the situation in New Orleans continues to calm down and more information is available, expect to see even more of the emotional reporting being done last week to become discredited in one way or another.


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