I watched a lot of TV coverage today about the aftermath of Katrina — PBS, CNN and Fox News — to try to get a feel about what kind of spin is going on. The Newshour had the most comprehensive coverage, including an insightful analysis of the racial, political, and economic fallout. CNN had the best on-the-ground coverage. Their correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta had some video where he is on the roof of Charity General, where 200 critical patients are waiting for government choppers, while Tulane Medical across the street is evac-ing non-essential staff. The story inferred that the public charges were not prioritized. Fox had a sanguine view of the recovery. Much of the footage was a montage of wire shots rather than live coverage. What was puzzling was why the anchor needed to ask leading questions to the correspondents, rather than just letting the correspondents report their observations. The rawest blogging by the managers trying to keep up an ISP in the city, DirectNIC, was the most reliable in describing the true state on the ground. They are hoping to get a shipment of fuel for their generators by the end of the day tomorrow, or they’re sunk.
In terms of the meta-meta issue above the racial and economic issues, what does this do to our self-esteem as a nation? The social contract with our government? How secure should we feel?
We started receiving visiting law students from New Orleans today; a number will be staying with us for free at least for the next semester. The first one flew in last night, and all I could think about as she sat on the other side of my desk is that we were 10 minutes away from Ground Zero, and that we’re going to make sure they’re taken care of. That’s the least that we can do.