Describing the Scene

As cable TV continues to cover Katrina 24/7, reporters seem to be reaching for new ways to describe the scene. CNN’s Jeff Koinange, during a report on Sunday’s “Late Edition”, saw it this way:

“This water, I cannot tell you how dirty and filthy and smelly it is and there’s mounds of garbage everywhere, so when you combine the water with the garbage and this baking sun, this is not good at all.

I haven’t seen bodies but I can smell the putrid smell of dead bodies. I know that from everywhere. From the convention center to this morning when you were walking about you can smell the dead bodies. You know they are there. We’ve ask several authorities why aren’t they taking care of body bags and getting them out of here to avoid disease. They said the priority is the living and that’s what they want to take care of first.”

If it weren’t for the videos taken during the South Asia Tsunami disaster, would there have been as big an outpouring of money and other relief? Probably not, but I wonder if we need this kind of reporting? Do we even need to hear the descriptions of Katrina’s dead? Do we need to see the dead bodies?

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