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    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    Finding vs Looting

    I wasn't going to say anything about this because it's been fairly well covered in other forums and blogs, but having been away with a film crew for the weekend and discussed this further, I was prompted to say something anyway.

    In recent coverage of the New Orleans Katrina disaster, various media have been accused of racist coverage. Most infamously the photos below have been published with very different captions. The young black man is said to have "looted" some food, while the white people are reported to have "found" food in an abandoned shop.

    It's hardly surprising that this has caused outrage.

    I have to admit that when I first saw the storm coming and the evacuation happening, I did wonder about the problem of looting. However once the impact of the disaster became clear, it also became clear that people would need to "loot" in order to survive.

    The poor police were placed in a difficult position but honestly, threatening to shoot people who were scavenging supplies which would only be wasted anyway does seem a bit extreme.

    A difficult lesson for the media this has been. I myself was predicting "looters" and might have used the same word, but the reality of the aftermath is such that we shouldn't be using any such judgmental terms when we can't imagine what it's been like for the survivors.

    I know if there was a storm like this in my town and my family's survival was at stake, one of my first tasks would be to head downtown to do some looting. And I wouldn't feel the least bit guilty about it.
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    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

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