Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NYTimes corrects reporter's "Katrina Shorthand"

Read about the NYTimes correction, and I encourage you to read John Mcquaid's write up as well. Especially tune into the follow-up comments posted by New Orleanians.

Please do it. Speak of the disaster factually, get your mind out of that crazy blame game towards the NOLA citizens, and help shift understanding towards the truth.

New York Times issues correction to reporter’s description of New Orleans’ flooding

The New York Times has issued a correction to one of its reporters’ rendition of what happened in metro New Orleans on August 29, 2005.

This is important because a prominent news source like the New York Times has much influence over what America understands about New Orleans.

It seems that on August 13, reporter Timothy Egan employed some overly brief, thus inaccurate wording to describe what caused the 2005 flooding. Such shorthand can lead many to believe New Orleans was simply overwhelmed by a natural disaster rather than the truth – that metro New Orleanians were mainly victims of structural engineering failures.

So the next day, the New York Times editorial board received a massive batch of letters from Levees.org supporters pointing out the unethical and harmful use of “Katrina shorthand.”

And two days later, noted author John McQuaid, co-author of Path of Destruction , joined in the rollicking discussion. “This is not a minor semantic point,” he correctly observed.

The NYTimes’ book review section’s editor issued a correction on September 6.

The correction was satisfactory. And it was significant.

And we hope this is the first of many such corrections to be issued by major news sources all across the country.

Because to say Katrina flooded New Orleans is like saying traffic wrecked the Minneapolis bridge.

Both revealed structural flaws. Both revealed blatant civil engineering incompetence.

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Anonymous Sandy Rosenthal said...

Dear Irene,

Thank you for posting about this important issue, the unethical and sloppy use of "Katrina Shorthand."

There is no excuse for anyone, especially major news sources, to use it.

Sandy Rosenthal, wife, mother and founder of Levees.org

8:10 AM  

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