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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 September 2005, 15:11 GMT 16:11 UK
Katrina and US media: Your comments
New Orleans residents are taken ashore in a boat after being rescued from their homes in high water

The BBC's Matt Wells says that Hurricane Katrina's destruction has forced the US media to rediscover how to ask tough questions.

Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

The lid was blown off and it became clear that this country is failing its poor
Betsy Schneider, Tempe, Arizona
I just hope you are right. For a few amazing days there we had a free press. The lid was blown off and it became clear that this country is failing its poor. I blame the Democrats as well, no-one talked about the poor in the last election and it was Clinton who signed the Welfare Reform Act. But the poor have increased exponentially during the Bush years and the media has largely ignored this story. Bush's actions (or rather in-actions) during this past week only served to highlight the priorities of his greedy and corrupt administration: increasing wealth and power at the highest levels. Now a hurricane has struck the poorest part of the country and shown us what we don't want to see. Let's hope the press and everyone else remembers what, and who we've seen and we learn to stop hating the poor and blaming them for their poverty.
Betsy Schneider, Tempe, Arizona

Thank you, Matt Wells and the BBC. I'm one of millions of American who waited for five years for this nation to wake up from its sleepwalk. I am just so sorry that it took Katrina to jolt us awake.
Jim Gregory, Arroyo Grande, CA USA

The travesty of the Bush government's response to the catastrophe in New Orleans has shamed this nation before the eyes of the world. How is it that we can muster the resources to invade and occupy Iraq, but yet cannot effectively confront a natural disaster on our own shores? Congressional hearings should be held immediately to assign responsibility and insure that such a thing can never happen again.
Tim Barrett, Three Rivers, USA

I don't understand why people think that one person (George Bush) would be responsible for any slow response to this tragedy. First of all, it is arguable that response rests in the hands of a government. Individuals and organisations of individuals (not necessarily government funded) can and did rush into help. Secondly, the New Orleans mayor, and state governor, if anyone in government, should be blamed for slow response. Mobilisation to tragedy absolutely needs to begin at the local level.
Paul Perrone, Crozet, VA

I think it's entirely too bad that so many thousands of people have to die from disaster on American soil before the mainstream media starts paying attention to citizens' anger and telling the truth. I wish they had had this kind of integrity and truth in reporting when Bush sent American troops to Iraq to wreak havoc on thousands of THEIR citizens.
Susan, Madison, WI, USA

It's time we take back American politics and demand change
Joey Erwin, New Orleans, La
I hope that coverage like this continues even after the "novelty" of our demise has worn off. The Gulf Coast deserves answers. We have watched our fair city crumble, we have watched people die, we have listened to the ego-driven denial spew from our president's mouth and it is evil. We may have lost everything but I hope that this is what the rest of this country needs to realise the danger we are in with our current administration. It's time we take back American politics and demand change. I grieve for the loss of life in New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast, I grieve for the city that will never be the same. But, I challenge those who are ready to move on to the next big story to please not let this one go. We were rejected on a federal level and people died, homes were lost and sickness will ensue.
Joey Erwin, New Orleans, La

I completely agree with this article, the media seems to be criticizing the administration here, or at least to a certain extent. The fact remains that the government has grossly failed its own citizens.
Aldo Gonzalez, San Diego, California

I agree completely. It is tragic that it has needed such a catastrophe to reveal the Bush regime, administration seems too innocuous a word, for what it is. Michael Moore, for all his failings, would appear to be on the right track.
D. Fear, Heidelberg, Germany

As an American expat currently working in the Middle East, my heart breaks over what is happening in my country and my anger rises on how badly this pack of fools ruining my beloved country have failed their job. If impeachment charges could be filed against Clinton over flimsy accusations, then impeachment charges should be filed against Bush and his "Department of Homeland Insecurity" head for their gross mishandling of the situation. And the GOP funky now ruining FEMA should be sacked, and FEMA restored to the cabinet-level position it once held, before the fiasco that is Department of Homeland Security was created.

It's nice to see that the US Media has finally grown a spine - I just wish it had been sooner.
Patrick McKinnion, Doha, Qatar

I agree in full and I strongly believe that this administration will get their well deserved "come up in's". We reap what we sow and this President and his pack of oil chasers have sewn only lies, illusions, and fear.
J Pesterle, Kapaa, Hawaii

The government should be roundly criticised for underestimating the relief effort requires, but in a country where poverty does not necessarily mean lack of television or means to transport ones self, many of those who did not leave, who were allegedly left with no choice to leave, could have probably done so.

Why is this effort being split along race grounds? It is a fact that a large percentage of the population of New Orleans is black, therefore a large percentage of those stranded would have been black, and whilst it may be unpalatable to many in a country as politically sensitive as America, many of those hindering the emergency services and committing atrocities are also black. It is time to face up to the sub-culture that exists without resorting to the race card.
Hemal Shah, London, UK

Of course they've been lying. Of course the media knew it, the BBC included. It's not only the American media that are rich and white.

Now how about telling the truth, retroactively as well as prospectively, as you see it, catch us citizens up on what else you have known the governments are lying about?
Hank Roberts, Berkeley, CA, USA

Bush administration has always been in self-denial mode, be it 9-11 or Katrina. The response of the administration is a reflection of Bush's personality, that is defensive, ego-driven, low on self esteem and compulsive lying.
Rajesh Raheja, New Delhi, India

Matt Wells' article is a clear, highly erudite, well-balanced and chillingly revealing account of what is the truth behind the pathetic posturing of the powerful in the USA - be it White House, the Senate, Hollywood, big business or whatever.

He has put into words what I have always thought, and has given me sleepless nights, but with prose I could never hope to match.
Nicholas Colley, Fresney France

President Bush has long been an embarrassment to our country and hopefully people will realize after this unbelievable event that they have had enough his leadership.
Diana Brown Johanson, Port Townsend, WA

I believe that it is honourable and laudable the efforts made by the media to stamp out politically biased media, and to report the truth and place the blame where it belongs.

I extend my support to journalists, writers, broadcasters, and individuals who stand up and voice their concerns to our sickeningly poll-driven administration.
Ryan Knoppe, La Grange, Illinois United States

Excellent article, genuine news, information and analysis. We need to see more of this.
Neil Messam, Swansea, UK

I agree, but I also know that the Rove character assassination team will now start to roll. Soon preachers will be calling the hurricane God's punishment on those wicked people of New Orleans.

Already here on Houston TV officials are looking into setting a curfew and possibly locking the survivors in at night, all because some Bambi type felt uneasy seeing so many black people out at night around the Astrodome.

Personally, I'd like to see a full accounting of the money that has been spent on homeland security, I think my fellow countrymen would be shocked and appalled at the level of corruption that now permeates every part of our government.
Marvin Bote, Houston, USA

I agree and am ashamed.
Ben Rice, Santa Cruz, California, USA

Are you kidding me? What could you possibly know about what is going on over here? Your country didn't even care about Katrina before Tuesday, and now you think that the US media is to be acclaimed for its reporting?

Do you have any idea that people were ordered to evacuate two days before the storm hit? Did you know that disaster preparedness starts at the state and local level, b/c on this side of the pond we don't have everything handed to us by the government who lead us around with a mediocre leash.

Those who couldn't evacuate should have been dealt with according to the plan that New Orleans should have had in place, got a copy of that? I'm sure they'll back date it for you to make it look correct. Just stay on your side of the pond and defend your reporting methods, as vague and useless as they are over here. Congrats, cheerio
Neil Holloran, VA, USA

It is about time the US press showed some professionalism, the sheer hypocrisy of the US government is about to be exposed if enough editors and journalists hold their nerve and have the guts to expose these lies and shoddy performances at the Federal, State and local level.

The US is not the only country to cut investment in the infrastructure of the nation to ensure the "good life" for their voters and to appease their financial backers, but this may be the biggest fallout from this type of governmental mismanagement.

Is there really a difference in the way Bush is (mis)managing the US and the way his friends at Halliburton, Enron, Tyco, Global Crossing, World Com etc, ran their companies?

The financial pain for US citizens is really going to start to increase as it is not only the Levees in Louisiana that have neglected, there are other areas of the US suffering from the same neglect and waiting to be found out to the huge future cost, financial and emotional, of the local residents.
George Adam, Singapore

Once again the BBC has proven to be one of the best commentators on America. As an American who has looked on with anger and disgust at not only this past weeks events but the American media's incompetence over the past few years, their ferociousness this past week has been a welcome ray of hope that America may be finally coming to terms with itself. That some of the reporters and commentators at Fox News are now starting to join in does not bode well for the current administration's time left in office.
John Haynes, Cincinnati,Ohio USA

Once again BBC has shown it's bias face. I find it amazing that in this Democrat state that Republicans are somehow to blame. The same goes with the poor in New York and California where Republicans continue to be blamed for the poverty when the Democrats have had a very long time in power to do something.

Where was the mayor of New Orleans. Last time I checked it was the mayor who had major control over police and other city government officials who were needed. When hurricanes strike Florida every year, you do not have this whining by the Governor or mayors.
Sean, Tennessee, USA

This entire article can be condensed into the proposal that the majority of the problems stemming from Katrina are a result of incompetence in the Bush administration and the spin protecting him is now crumbling.

Instead of then supporting this argument with any reasoning, the journalist repeats his assumptions in various ways and descriptive harbingers of the doom hanging over those he dislikes.

The only meaningful information present is that the journalist believes the evacuation of poor and minority persons to be too slow and questions the impact of a reduced national guard, but neither is supported by any detail whatsoever or ties either to anyone other then unnamed administration officials.
Illidan, Anchorage, Alaska

The US media is very aggressive when it comes to domestic issues, but never when it comes to international issues, especially when the viewpoint is not in the interests of US.
Razi, San Francisco, CA





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