I consistently argued at the time that having 100,000 people live through days of anarchy in New Orleans was a national disgrace, and that the breakdown of order caused people to drown and die of exposure due to violence paralyzing rescuers who feared for their own lives, partly due to exaggeration but partly due to reality. I never argued there was a mass slaughter going on. I also suggested that there would be a massive media cover up to convince us to forget what we saw with our lying eyes.
As I blogged way back on Labor Day, September 5th:
But, yes, sniping during rescue operations, as in the 1967 Detroit riot, is a complete calamity since it can send rescuers fleeing. Generally, the amount of actual sniping gets exaggerated while it's happening, but that reflects the terror and revulsion that any sniping at relief workers generates.
Whenever the talking heads on TV and their partners in print notice that they are showing mass evidence of blacks behaving badly, they are inspired into a paroxysm of lying about white racism to prevent the formation of "stereotypes" among viewers inclined to believe their own lying eyes.
Sure enough, in the last 48 hours, we've seen the national media suddenly decide that since New Orleans was not the Rape of Nanking with huge numbers murdered, then, hey, it wasn't so bad. In fact, it was just racist stereotypes that made us believe what we saw! Yeah, that's the ticket...
For example, Jonah Goldberg writes:
Race is obviously part of the equation, too. "If the dome and Convention Center had harbored large numbers of middle-class white people," Times Picayune editor Jim Amoss said, "it would not have been a fertile ground for this kind of rumor mongering." As with the cannibalism canard [which I scoffed at immediately], there seemed to be an eagerness on the part of many — on the Right and Left — to believe the very worst stories possible about poor African Americans.
Oh, come on, Jonah ... you know that that's absolutely the opposite of the truth about which stories the American media like to report, which are ones about whites being mean to blacks. The national press is acutely uncomfortable with reporting on black crime. Note, for instance, that the "Color of Crime" report has now been out for over two weeks, and, according to Google News, it has so far only been mentioned in two publications among the many hundreds covered by Google News: VDARE.com and David Horowitz's FrontPage.
We now know, thanks to valuable post-mortems by the Los Angeles Times and the New Orleans Times-Picayune, that a great deal of the "great reporting" was in fact great rumor mongering. The stories of rape and murder in the Superdome were all unfounded. Six people died in there, tragically. But nobody was murdered.
Whoa, hold your horses, Jonah. When civil control breaks down, so does official record-keeping, and this week's spate of revisionism is based on officials, typically self-interested ones, stating they have no records of bad things happening.. That doesn't mean none of them happened.
What we have been seeing recently is local newspapers across the country and in Britain and Australia publishing accounts of survivors from their regions that are much less politically correct than the national news media's accounts, which have been growing more constrained by their felt need to make all the news fit their pre-existing conceptual slots about white racism, black victimization etc.
For example, the following story about two survivors from the Boston area appeared today not in the Boston Globe but in the second-rank Boston Herald reported today:
Local witnesses haunted by murder at Superdome
By Theresa Freeman/ MetroWest Daily News Thursday, September 29, 2005 -
Updated: 03:12 AM EST
A Holliston woman and her Ashland friend are outraged officials are saying reports of atrocities after Hurricane Katrina were exaggerated, claiming they witnessed a deadly fight at the Superdome.
Adrienne Long of Holliston said she was ringside when two men wrangled over the last sip of Jack Daniel's whiskey and one beat and stabbed the other to death. Her friend William ``Teddy'' Nichols of Ashland was nearby and saw the bloody aftermath. Long was angry when she first heard of the exaggeration reports on television Tuesday.
``I was sitting here screaming at the TV. Did I imagine everything I saw?'' said Long. ``I just can't believe people would say this.''
Both say they are reluctant to contact authorities with information. They are both terrified by memories of what they said was a lawless city.
New Orleans Police Lt. Reginald Jacques said yesterday the city's homicide detectives are spread out because police headquarters was destroyed. He added they are not investigating Long's murder report.
Long had traveled to the Big Easy to drop off her son at Tulane University. He made it home safe long before she did.
A reader responds:
The Herald story is a truncated version of a longer report in the MetroWest Daily News, a suburban paper (and corporate cousin of the Boston Herald). I found the original Daily News story online, I read it closely, and I concluded based on the clues provided that this killer, who allegedly took his friend's life in a dispute over a whiskey bottle, is white.
To confirm my supposition, I emailed the reporter, Theresa Freeman, and she wrote me back. “The first draft of my story included that both men involved in the fight were white," she says, "but my editors removed the reference because it was not germane to the story.”