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Has Katrina Saved the American Media?

I’ve read several articles in the past couple of days about the quality of the reporting around Hurricane Katrina. That, for a change, it was incisive and critical. From the BBC:

But last week the complacency stopped, and the moral indignation against inadequate government began to flow, from slick anchors who spend most of their time glued to desks in New York and Washington.

Also, from the New York Observer:

Reporters like Mr. Bury covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are ripping away the kinds of journalistic niceties that have attended most of the major news events since President George W. Bush took office. The kinds of questions that came up at the dawn of the war in Iraq–is it O.K. to report from the flatbed of an Army truck and follow troops around if it means you can penetrate into the center of the conflict?–seemed perverse in the New Orleans left behind by Hurricane Katrina.

Finally, check out this video from a Whitehouse press conference. That sort of vigilant enquiry has been missing in that room for the past five years.

UPDATE: Xeni just posted on the same topic with a good round-up of suddenly-spineful journalists.

4 Responses to “Has Katrina Saved the American Media?”

  1. Andrea

    I was under the impression that the current administration had said that any criticism (or unwelcome coverage) of them would result in the reporter being denied access in the future. And so the media had to self-censor just so it could have access to the administration. Do you think David Gregory of NBC will face repercussions? What made him break from the pack?

  2. Marc

    I haven’t been following coverage religiously, but it sounds like the “redemption of the media” works only if we are speaking in terms of criticism of Bush and his administration.

    At least according to this blogger, the media still hasn’t got its act together, given its almost exclusive focus on New Orleans and hunt for racism.

  3. Darren

    Stephen: Actually, I was referring here to the American media.

    There’s no question in my mind that the Canadian media is generally compromised by a number of factors, including ownership conglomerates, reduced resources, increased coverage demands and increased savviness in government and prive industry.

    In truth, I’ve only been consuming media seriously for about a decade. As such, I can’t really say if they were better in, say, 1980, than today.

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