Thursday, June 15, 2006

"Looters" vs. "Finders" redux...

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) released a report June 13th that criticized FEMA for doling out up to $1.4 billion dollars for fraudulent claims, representing up to 16% of the total funds distributed. Most media outlets instantly jumped on the story downplaying the criticism of FEMA and running their stories, with pictures of - guess who? If you said black people, you are correct.

This is reminiscent of the type of coverage the Katrina disaster aftermath received right from the beginning. Example below (from the Media Awareness Network):

Now, I'm sure that a lot of the people who defrauded FEMA actually are black. But when the only photograph or video associated with a media outlet's coverage of the story shows black people, consciously or unconsciously people will assume that all of the defrauders are black. An example below is the photo that AP ran with their story.

Hmmm, that guy must have ten more of those cards in his back pocket, right? Here's an idea: how about if they ran the story with a picture of new FEMA head David Paulison, since the GAO report criticizes FEMA. Or even mention his name in the story. Or run a picture of an actual person who's been charged with fraud (many have been). Or even provide some background, like how most of the no-bid contracts handed out went to out of state firms, some of whom brought in immigrant workers and then didn't pay them, instead of hiring locals. So what, FEMA hired firms that were basically practicing slavery. Big deal! What? Regular crooks, who aren't incorporated and publicly traded, actually profited from this? Lock 'em up!

The "liberal" media? No, the media of the lowest common denominator.

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