Myths the Media is Presenting

are answered definitively in American Thinker.

A recent poll of New Orleans residents revealed that an even higher percentage, 60%, would remain in the city even if ordered to evacuate with a major storm on the way. The Mayor New Orleans, Ray Nagin, estimated that at least 80% of his city’s residents were out before the hurricane hit Monday. In retrospect, this must be considered a major positive achievement. How did it happen? Though you won’t hear this on NBC, CBS or CNN, the National Hurricane Center urged President Bush to request that the Governor of Louisiana and Mayor of New Orleans order a complete evacuation of New Orleans. Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin agreed, and this order was given over the weekend, two days before the hurricane hit. All day Saturday and Sunday, as the TV news networks were in the midst of their all Katrina, all the time coverage, the pictures were of bumper to bumper traffic heading out of town in all directions.

So, 60% of New Orleanians said they would stay, even if told to leave. But, because they were told multiple times, 80% of the city left. That’s huge. That means that instead of having 180,000 people in NO for evactuation, we only had 90,000. Yeah, that’s too many, but it’s a lot better.

Some people, including my husband, were wondering why all the pictures of the displaced were black people. Weren’t there any white people? Yes, there were. But not as many. Ah, because of racism. No. Because most of NO is black.

The basic major media premise all week has been that the 20% who were left behind were all black, and poor and the rich got out of town. This is simply put, nonsense – and racist. New Orleans is a poor city (more than twice the national poverty rate). Most of those who got out of town were not rich, and were not driving SUVs, as Tim Russert sneered on the air Sunday (in a disgracefully-conducted interview with Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff).

A little elementary math will address this canard. According to the 2000 census, New Orleans’ population of 484,000 included approximately 136,000 whites, and 326,000 blacks. The white figure includes 7,000 Hispanics who classify themselves as white on the census forms. If 80% of New Orleans residents got out early – and this is the Mayor’s number – then only about 97,000 residents remained. Assume all of them were black, (which of course they were not). That would mean that 229,000 blacks got out early, and 136,000 whites along with them. In other words, the successful mass evacuation substantially benefited black residents of the city.

At least 70% of black residents of New Orleans got out of the city before the storm (assuming 100% of those left behind were black), and undoubtedly more than that (since all those left behind were not black).

Some say there wasn’t enough federal help because Bush is racist. Oh yeah? Then he must be racist against whites.

The destruction from the storm affected far more whites than blacks. …the three Mississippi counties that were hardest hit – Hancock (home to Pass Christian), Harrison (home to Biloxi and Gulfport), and Jackson (home to Pascagoula and Ocean Springs) are among the whitest counties in Mississippi, the state with the highest African American percentage of the population in the country (36.3% in 2003).

…Four of the five parishes worst hit in the New Orleans area flooding, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard and St. Tammany, are majority white (ranging from 67% to 88%). Only Orleans Parish (New Orleans) is majority black (67%).

If you wondered why New Orleans held center stage, the article offers these possible explanations:

New Orleans got almost all of the attention this week, in part because it is a major media market, and all the broadcast news reporters were there to report the coming storm. Another reason might be that Mississippi has a Republican Governor Haley Barbour, who could not be relied on for the desired interview sound bytes trashing President Bush. The media went for the easy story, those left behind in New Orleans, and shifted to the “Bush is to blame” game.

My friend, who is a NO native, has been appalled at all the bad news from the media. She feels that it is portraying the city negatively. But NO had that problem before the disaster hit.

The lawlessness in New Orleans was more of the same for a city that has always had a very high crime rate. …

New Orleans is always at or near the top in the national ranking for murder rate. The rate of murders per thousand residents there has been ten times the national average in recent years. …

New Orleans has a small police force, only 1,400, and they were unable or unwilling to deal with the outbreak of looting, shootings, and rape, while at the same time trying to help with rescue operations and move people to safety. But the city, in which corruption and crime has always been rampant, was unusually ill equipped to deal with the kind of catastrophe.

Read all of Richard Baer’s article. It has great stuff.

via Betsy’s Page