posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 02:28 AM
Many thanks for this thread. Having read all of it, I appreciate the efforts put in by the OP and so many others in providing links and other
information resources. Where I live in the middle of Europe, there has been precious little in the media about Ike's effects. Now, you might think
that un-surprising, but compared to Katrina and even some other "lesser" storms, the dearth of reporting in this case has left me puzzled.
Even the recent (ie post-storm) reporting by CNN International has been pretty sparse. Prior to the storm and even during its arrival on land, we had
hours of coverage, a lot of it fed in from CNN USA. Bearing in mind that when it was the middle of the night there in the US it was already morning
here, I was able to watch the live reports from Galveston from reporters based there as the eye of the storm came in. As an aside, I still wonder
about the fact that if there is a "certain death" storm on the way, it kind of negates the warnings in some people's minds to have reporters
standing there only yards from thundering waves, telling us how dangerous it is and how they should have got out. I can almost hear people saying,
"Well if it's so dangerous then wtf are you doing there?"
But back to the main point: after Katrina, we had literally days of coverage here from the US, much of it live and carried even on our local channels
(with simultaneous interpreting) as news crews made their way around the devastated areas and interviewed survivors, beamed footage of rescues and
those pleading for rescue from their rooftops, showing us the dreadful conditions at the "refuge of last resort" and the people chanting "We want
help, we want help," and even showing us the sad and chilling images of bodies lying in the streets.
From what I have read on this thread it seems that some of what we saw was not shown to you who live in the US -- at least the latter part I
mentioned. Or, if you saw such images post-Katrina, you are getting virtually nothing now, and neither are we. I for one am glad not see those saddest
images of humans who lost their lives for I saw enough of that first-hand when I was a volunteer firefighter; on the other hand, having heard
statements from PTB that something like 100,000 homes have been lost and that the devastation is widespread, I'd like to know that this time, the US
authorities have reacted in a far more coordinated and effective way than they did after Katrina wreaked her havoc.
You might ask why I, a non-American, could care less. Well, I'll tell you straight that I just could not believe what I saw last time. Not the
destruction: large hurricanes are the biggest well-organized moving energy masses on the planet so their effects should surprise no-one. No, it was
the utter shambles of the post-Katrina rescue and relief efforts that stunned me, because I had thought that the USA's authorities would do better
when it came to helping their own people.
So I have been waiting for some detailed and honest reports about what has really gone on and what is being done about it, and there has been so
little coming out that it's frankly disturbing. It's like it never really happened. As several have said, you can't hide the effects of a
hurricane. However, if you clamp down on the mass media you can certainly slow down the release of that information and reduce its impact.
Is that the reasoning? I don't know. But it seems from what I have seen (via the links to press conferences) that the media are being restricted.
There was no attempt to "lock out" reporters from New Orleans after Katrina. They even have resources such as helicopters and high-quality cameras
that can aid in SAR efforts. It seems absurd to not use them. By making use of the news media's assets, lives could be saved that otherwise
might be lost, or at the very least, the suffering of some stranded and desperate people (and their loved ones) could be lessened. And as for trying
to shield people from the truth that their homes or even their loved ones may have come to harm, would it not be better to try and clarify things? The
worst thing is not knowing. I speak from experience: after a disastrous bushfire in Australia some years ago my first concern was the safety of
my neighbours and friends -- and of course, our homes. My home was lost but at least I knew about it pretty soon and that was better than being left
in the dark. Worry is destructive. True, so is grief, but the sooner the grieving can start the sooner "closure" can take place and we can move
So why deliberately keep thousands of worrying people in the dark?
A comment about restricting news choppers and so forth from flying over the worst-affected areas: chopper pilots are no fools and very, very rarely
make mistakes. A lot of them are ex-military and are, to put it bluntly, bloody good pilots. They have flown in far more dangerous conditions in the
past than in their now-civilian occupation and we do not need to tell them to be careful. Why news choppers should be restricted, then,
is not a matter of safety or "getting in the way" of official SAR missions. Far from it. They can (and often do) provide valuable assistance in
these missions. So why they've been restricted is a mystery to me.
My apologies for this long post but it seemed easier to lump everything together rather than post five or six shorter ones in response to other posts
here. I guess I just want you to know that it's not only in the US that we are concerned about this tragedy. All over the world, people recall
Katrina and what went on afterwards, and I am surely not the only one in this part of the world who is wondering why we are hearing and seeing almost
nothing this time.
I think the authorities -- whoever they are who've placed these restrictions -- should consider the needless worry and suffering they are causing by
not letting people know what has happened to their families, friends, and properties. If there are extra-ordinary and valid reasons for what appears
to be a clampdown, then one has to wonder what they are.
I pray that most people are safe. My heart goes out to all of those who've lost ones dear to them.