Convention Center, Federal Government, Iraq discussed on Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter
Sources podcast. So let's cue the music. I'm Brian stelter and this is our weekly podcast edition of reliable sources. Our chance to go in depth with media leaders and newsmakers. fucking about how the news gets made and how it should be made differently. I've always been really really interested in how Hurricane Katrina was covered. By the media. And how different the story of the storm looks? In. The final telling. I'm borrowing that phrase the final telling from. An extraordinary podcasts by the Atlantic called flood lines. The podcast was released earlier this year. And now here we are in. August. Always toward the end of August I, think about Katrina. And the aftermath. We are now the fifteen year anniversary of the disaster. One of the worst disasters in. Americans lifetime's. Do People still think about it that way. What about the failures of government and society and the media? Was the final telling tell us. Well Van Newkirk is a senior editor at the Atlantic. He's the host of bloodlines and he is here to tell us ban. Thanks for joining me. Thanks for having me. When I say it's been fifteen years since the storm hit. How does that land with you? Well. We were reporting flood lines mostly throughout the summer of the fourteenth anniversary and We were always trying to think ahead of what it would be like of what the commemorations would be Obviously, all of our considerations on that front have Kinda gone out the window in the middle of the pandemic but we always thought this show would be an opportunity to reach people for whom you know this receding from their memory folks who are who are grown listeners. Now, who were kids when Katrina happened for people who only absorbed it through a lens where? They, weren't able to get all the information I. Mean I was I was a teenager when Katrina hit. So people like that. We think fourteen anniversary last year the fitting for Serie. This month are opportunities for us to Really get the story that people providing to us out there in a way that that has challenge some people's assumptions about what happened what are you remember of that initial news coverage a in two thousand and five you know what stands out to you the very first memory that always come to me thinking about how I actually watched and experienced. Katrina from Durham North Carolina where I was wasn't the time is the Kanye West George. Bush doesn't care about black people. I was watching the telethon. I was really following closely all the coverage, but that was the one where a lot of different thoughts kinda crystallized in my head about what was going on you know but then other other things that were challenged for me. Even as I was reporting this where we're all the reporting on the the looting, the crime in the city I I had of course, already had a sense that that was a bit sensationalized, but the extent to which it wasn't Asian allies. I didn't really know until we started reporting for flood lawns and that's one of the reasons why this is so important to revisit. You know we're talking about one of the most misunderstood events in American history. What things ample of that finding you know that you all are revisited or visit for the first time So the episode in the new, Orleans Convention, center was to me maybe the most illuminating The Convention Center of people don't remember was a place where thousands and thousands of people gathered after the flood during the flood to escape. It wasn't the official evacuation or shelter last resort point that was the Superdome and so people were there the federal government clam they did not know about. People being there. So it was a big story about win the federal government no in why would they take so long to get them help but underneath all that was apparently now first responders and maybe some federal sources were afraid to go to the convention center because they had heard reports about just epic episodes of violence between armed gang members who were shooting maybe shoot having gun fights inside the Convention Center so. You could see why in that telling why they would not maybe not respond. So quickly to the Convention Center if it was so dangerous nowadays, we call that misinformation or disinformation right and so the misinformation on this front you know they're in the in the final telling out of those thousands and thousands of people who were in the Convention Center I believe authorities collected nine weapons that's not done nine completing Folk nine pieces of total contraband from people who were there which I believe if you screw up a couple thousand people from any city in, put him somewhere. You're going to get somewhere. You know get a handful of weapons, but there was no evidence this type of. Just, read. cartoonish violence was happening in this place and those were the actual very first that we heard coming out of the Convention Center. So they colored how Americans, not Americans how people who are going to help how they saw the situation on the ground and colored who got that help the fastest. It also speaks to the The the way we received information of so messy. So scattershot I think during the Iraq war, it was like in looking through a story through. A paper Straw a plastic Straw, and all you're seeing is what's through that? stroia seen a tiny little sliver of what's happening. I remember when it seemed like the national media discovered the Convention Center Situation You know. What was day four something of this crisis and it was so disturbing that it seemed like the cameras were there. But the cavalry was not that the federal government was not really local government was not there and it was an example of the media being ahead of. Where the rescuers were. So I don't I don't I know that you're you know there's also a lot of errors in the news coverage of this event but I I get the sense. The entire time that the press was almost alerting the government to what was going on is that is that a segment yeah I mean I am a member of the press I don't want to be too down on the press because there were people who were doing the kind of journalism especially around the Convention Center that finally got the help there I think there are lots of different vectors of misinformation and disinformation including the government itself. In this situation I'm glad you mentioned the Iraq war. Because actually I. believe what was happening in terms of how people were getting the news the information was similar you had a demand. From viewers that we get around the clock coverage that we get all these updates on then we get as much information as possible but really there's a real bottleneck at the actual seen in how much information come through. So how you know how we feel that that gap that void is people take secondhand reports they go in amplify things that have been reported and often times we get things like somebody one looter is is arrested coming out of a of a of a of a store and so many people. Talk about that one looter it seems like you've got fifty people talking about looters and it's really fifty people talking about the one looter. Yes. Yes got. Well, it looks even.