Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Missed Hurricane

Preparedness with a sense of proportion is always good. It would have saved thousands of lives and homes in New Orleans in the wake of 2005's Hurricane Katrina. But the ratcheted-up rhetoric around Irene, termed a "historic hurricane" by President Obama, spoke less of the state's duty to protect than of inflated pre-election grandstanding complete with cowboy-style gubernatorial warnings to people "to stay the hell off the beach".

This is not to participate in the blame game that has already begun as media pundits denounce and politicians defend their actions. Some superficial queries about "over-reaction" are now being posed. But the real question is what political role such manufactured hysteria plays at a time when ordinary Americans are far more vulnerable to the damage being inflicted on them by their economic and political elites than to individual weather events. (Changing climate patterns are a different matter).

Put simply, millions more homes will have been lost to bank repossessions than have been damaged by Irene. The storm caused some flooding, but much greater degradation has been inflicted on the US coastline by last year's BP oil spill. A few days without electricity is challenging, but the blow to clean energy prospects posed by the state department's recent approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta to the Texas coast is more worrying.
~ from Hurricane Irene Could Never Take from Americans What the Banks Already Have by Priyamvada Gopal ~
I already shared one post with you on my belief that a good deal of the mainstream media hysteria over Hurricane Tropical Storm Irene had to do with ratings and profits more than anything else. However, Gopal makes a great point as well. While weather events, sensational trials and celebrity news cause the mainstream media to provide all-out coverage, they show little enthusiasm for covering the corporate robbery that goes on day-in and day-out.

Imagine what the general public would learn if all the mainstream news outfits decided (independently, of course) to provide round the clock coverage of the US Federal Reserve, Goldman Sachs, or the inner workings of Walmart! Imagine if they reported on the home foreclosure crisis with the same kind of zeal. Imagine if they provided feature after feature and hour after hour of investigative information about our government's steadfast refusal to do much of anything to halt or even slow climate change.

But oh no! The mainstream media is more than willing to tell us everything they can dig up about the Casey Anthony trial, yet the corporate and government oligarchs are allowed to run the national and world economy into the ground without so much as a penlight shone their direction.

1 comment:

  1. If it bleeds it leads... maybe we should all cut our wrists, or maybe a banker's wrists.


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