Big Steyn of Lager
He gets out a big stick and whacks the media
with it:Er, no. The facts they put in front of us were wrong, and they didn't talk truth to power. They talked to goofs in power, like New Orleans' Mayor Nagin and Police Chief Compass, and uncritically fell for every nutso yarn they were peddled. The media swallowed more bilge than if they'd been lying down with their mouths open as the levee collapsed. Ten thousand dead! Widespread rape and murder! A 7-year-old gang-raped and then throat-slashed! It was great stuff -- and none of it happened. No gang-raped 7-year-olds. None.
I blogged it because it was being reported in the media. But the reported rapes of 7-year-old girls really was where alarm bells should have been going off in my head. It's not that those things don't happen, but they are, fortunately, extremely rare, and they tend not to be gang-related, for the simple reason that almost all gangs would kill any of their members who tried to rape a 7-year-old girl.Most of the media are still in Dan mode, sucking up their guts and congratulating themselves about what a swell job they did during Katrina. CNN producers were advising their guests to "be angry," and there was so much to get angry about, not least the fact that no matter how angry you got on air Anderson Cooper was always much better at it. And Mayor Nagin as well. To show he was angry, he said "frickin'" all the frickin' time so that by the end of a typical Nagin soundbite you felt as if you'd been gang-fricked. "That frickin' Superdome," he raged. "Five days watching dead bodies, watching hooligans killing people, raping people."
But nobody got killed by a hooligan in the Superdome. The problem wasn't rape and murder, but the rather more prosaic lack of bathroom facilities. As Ben Stein put it, it was the media that rioted. They grabbed every lurid rumor and took it for a wild joyride across prime time. There was a real story in there -- big hurricane, people dead -- but it wasn't enough, and certainly not for damaging President Bush.
You know what is really required here? The media pushed for an independent inquiry into the response to Katrina. How about if we bloggers push for an independent inquiry into where the media went wrong on the response to Katrina? Indeed, we don't have to ask for it, we can simply start it ourselves.
We have a huge database of stories that were filed on this, many with fascinating details, that we now know were not true. Let's start sifting through the stories and finding where the weak links are.
For instance, here, to me is a crucial story
in terms of keeping the myth of rape and murder at the Superdome alive. It was published on September 6, 2005. Earlier that same day both Matt Welch and Michelle Malkin questioned whether the reports were accurate.
But later that day Hugh Hewitt read from the Brian Thevenot article linked above. After reading it myself, I figured that at this point there could be no doubt that the worst stories were true.Arkansas National Guardsman Mikel Brooks stepped through the food service entrance of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center Monday, flipped on the light at the end of his machine gun, and started pointing out bodies.
"Don't step in that blood - it's contaminated," he said. "That one with his arm sticking up in the air, he's an old man." Then he shined the light on the smaller human figure under the white sheet next to the elderly man.
"That's a kid," he said. "There's another one in the freezer, a 7-year-old with her throat cut."
Okay obvious question for Thevenot: Did he personally meet with Mikel Brooks? Because the way the story reads, it certainly sounds as if Thevenot was there. Maybe we can forgive him for not checking the one in the freezer, but what about the "smaller human figure under the white sheet"? And Brooks needs to be questioned too, to determine what he remembers from his conversations with the reporter.