Media doesn’t give Iowa the Katrina treatment

Posted: June 16, 2008 in The Media

Just out of curiosity, I did a news image search using the following terms:

Iowa, victims and Iowa, flood.

My purpose of doing this was to validate an assertion I made about some time ago about how the media will always portray one groups as weak while assuming the best for the other.

(Please note: This post is about MEDIA COVERAGE, and not a comparison of damage between Iowa’s floods and Katrina)

During Katrina, there was virtually no limit to the amount of images that focused exclusively on the pain and suffering folks were going through during the days that followed Katrina. Just about every picture showed some Black person crying, angry and just distraught over their loss. Close-up shots of tears streaming down the face of some little girl or adult were in no short supply. While the imagery was true, the media focused on one part of the story.

Now fast forward to how the press is covering the victims in the recent flood in Iowa. As of this morning, under Iowa, victims, I found only 6 images (and one of those pictures is of a helicopter in a field). Under Iowa, flood, while I did get plenty more results, many of those images focused on actual flood damage. With roughly 36,000 people in Iowa currently homeless, some towns still unreachable, and hundreds of homes already considered lost, you would think their would be some grief the media could cover. But based on the way the media is covering this event, they can handle it.

  1. bea says:

    You’re missing the point. The biggest difference isn’t in how the media is portraying the victims. It’s the way in which heartland flood victims are and will continue to be ignored. The sad truth is not nearly as many charities will be created for Iowans and others left homeless by the floods as there were for Katrina victims (those in New Orleans anyway. Those in Mississippi and Alabama weren’t given nearly the attention. We both know why.). Nor will the activists rush in front of news cameras to demand action and look for targets to blame. Nor do I predict we will have Iowans left homeless after the floods still inhabiting taxpayer funded hotel rooms years after the flood still demanding more be done as we do with Katrina victims. Nor will we have the Cedar Rapids mayor proclaiming the need to return Cedar Rapids into a Vanilla City as Nagin bigotedly called for a “Chocolate City” in N.O. But in one way you’re right. The media doesn’t give Iowa the Katrina treatment and with it the sympathy, charity and aid. The victims of the heartland flood deserve to get the same treatment. But for the color of their skin they won’t. And that’s the other tragedy in all of this.

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