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The Media Frenzy of Hurricane Katrina

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In the wake of any disaster, it seems like it is only human to look for someone to blame. However, this gets very difficult to do when the culprit is a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Katrina. The hurricane absolutely devastated parts of the Gulf region of the United States. With nearly two thousand dead or missing, who would come to be responsible for the tragedy?

While initially, blame was placed on the government for failure to prevent the severe flooding that occurred in New Orleans, the blame was eventually placed on FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA's job is to respond to and help alleviate the problems related to a disaster that overwhelms local and state government. The criticism of FEMA in the case of Hurricane Katrina arose in how unprepared the agency was to handle the severity of the disaster. FEMA originally had supplies for 15,000 people for three days, which is when they expected that their relief would come in. However, FEMA was quickly overwhelmed by the sheer number of people that required aid in those first three days.

However adequate or inadequate the emergency response of FEMA was, the media took a hold of the story and ran with it. Between showing pictures of the devastation that the Hurricane had caused, and showing pictures of the victims in the Louisiana SuperDome, the media took these accusations against FEMA and made them front page news.

The media frenzy over the Brown's apparent failure eventually caused him to resign. There was a lot of discussion over whether or not it was a fair move for him to resign. "Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson Brown became a scapegoat for a failed system...'The decision to change leaders over a failed system is no substantial change.'" (Associated Press, 9/13/2005)

The media also seemed to assault the government's response to Katrina in other ways. During a Concert for Relief (for Katrina), Kanye West famously went off script and stated "George Bush doesn't care about black people."



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