Sunday, September 04, 2005

Katrina Coverage

Since several members of my family, (including, I'm afraid, myself) are somewhat addicted to talk radio and many of them are addicted to political blogs blgos, Ivarious pundits' opionions about Katrina. It's pathetic. The fact is, there isn't all that much political to say about Katrina and now is not the time to say it. One of the peculiarities of our society is that everyone can comment on everything, as it happens and continually. Gone are the days when people had to be only Monday morning quarterbacks, reacting long after the crisis was over, when they could be nothing worse than annoying; now we are blessed with ten thousand Sunday afternoon quarterbacks, peeking over the players' shoulders during the huddle and loudly asking what's going on and why it's taking so long. Piece of personal advice- Shut up. There will be plenty of time to analyze what we did wrong later, when we are sincerely interested in trying to prevent such a calamity from happening again. Now is the time to help, to pull together and to shut up, not only about political attacks but also about the constant stream of analysis and re-analysis and the analysis of everyone else's analysis. Just shut up. Now is not the time for commentary, it is the time for action and if you can't act, then just shut up.
Unfortunately, this isn't really an option for anyone, is it? Because the news media, by definition, is not there to say what has to be said or to inform you of what you ought to know- it is there to fill up or fill in a certain amount of time a day. A reporter, radio host, and unfortunately, even a blogger, can't just get on the air at the beginning of their two-hour (or two page) slot and say "Well, Katrina's bad, but no good discussing it. Moving on..." It would seem callous and heartless and indeed it would be, besides the fact that there wouldn't be much else left to discuss.
This flaw is inherent in the medium and there's really nothing that the annoying people involved can do about it, although people are on the right track when the avoid recriminations and stick to facts. And it's a flaw that exists in, I suppose, the coverage of everything- I mean, the world rarely is a better place because people have discussed Senate confirmation hearings for two hours. But here the fault is all the more glaring, because people are dead, dying, in trouble at the same moment that self-satisfied pundits analysis the heck out of their suffering.
So, I suppose that my message can and will not be followed, but to the degree that pundits and certainly bloggers, who can set their own schedules, are able to follow it: Help what you can, pray all you are able, but just this once- shut up.

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