LA Times Admits Media Exaggerated New Orleans Bad News

The media is starting to admit that it "recycled and amplified" many "unverified reports" about violence in New Orleans following Katrina.

The LA Times reports:

"The New Orleans Times-Picayune on Monday described inflated body counts, unverified 'rapes,' and unconfirmed sniper attacks as among examples of 'scores of myths about the dome and Convention Center treated as fact by evacuees, the media and even some of New Orleans' top officials'....

"Journalists and officials who have reviewed the Katrina disaster blamed the inaccurate reporting in large measure on the breakdown of telephone service, which prevented dissemination of accurate reports to those most in need of the information. Race may have also played a factor.

"The wild rumors filled the vacuum and seemed to gain credence with each retelling — that an infant's body had been found in a trash can, that sharks from Lake Pontchartrain were swimming through the business district, that hundreds of bodies had been stacked in the Superdome basement."

The only TV network that was singled out for criticism was, of course, Fox News.

"Fox News, a day before the major evacuation of the Superdome began, issued an 'alert' as talk show host Alan Colmes reiterated reports of 'robberies, rapes, carjackings, riots and murder. Violent gangs are roaming the streets at night, hidden by the cover of darkness.'"

Hurricane Katrina Los Angeles Times

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