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Friday, May 30, 2008

Forgotten in the Destruction

KARE11 photo
The tornadoes that hit the local area on Sunday afternoon are still all over the news, and well they should be. But I criticize the media, for they are focusing on only one area of damage, that being the most dramatically hit, while ignoring the area where the tornadoes began. People in lesser-devastated areas are not receiving the same help, and they need it just as desperately, for some of their homes are just as completely condemned. They weren't leveled by tornadoes, but they WILL be leveled by bulldozers and wrecking balls as a result of this storm.

Where are the news stations with regard to their plight?

The other day I had a meeting in Forest Lake and I returned back via highway 61 which took me right past the worst devastation. It's one thing to see it on the's completely another to be looking at it from ground-level, even in passing.

That pile of twigs? Yeah, that used to be a house, just a few days ago. That neighborhood of plywood and 2x4's, disconnected rooves, tarped shingles of structures left standing, and windowless homes...yeah. That used to be a vibrant comunity. Not a decade or so ago...just last weekend.

That same afternoon, en route home, I took a tour through the neighborhood slightly north of me, and observed the damage there as well. It wasn't as bad as the damage in Hugo, but it was bad enough, and too close to home. I was nearly caught in that storm. Had it shifted only slightly south, well, maybe I'd be homeless and waiting for a restoration company.

But let's talk about the people who aren't getting any help. At my meeting, the big topic was the storm, as it had happened in our area and the women there knew a lot of people directly affected. One of the women was late; she spoke of her friend from whose home she had just come. Her friend was in shock, completely paralyzed, living in la-la land. The tornado pretty much touched down in her yard, from the sound of it, yet NO ONE had been by to help her. Her house was not livable; the walls were bowed inward, waterlogged, the pictures were askew, and the woman was simply incapable of making any decisions. Not due to lack of intelligence or organizational ability; she is a person very gifted with organizational skills. But this storm has unseated her, rendered her out of control, and she is helpless to get it back. She needs help...but all the help is being called into the city of Hugo and her area will get "overflow" if there's too many volunteers (a number which has been capped and filled). There is no volunteer organization for her neighborhood. And she's only ONE soul. Only ONE family.

Where is KSTP? Where is KARE11? Where is WCCO? Where is KMSP?

What I really want to know is this:

Where is the media when they can really do some good for people who really need the call for help that they are incapable of making?

Oh, right...they're getting the money shots at Minnesota's version of Katrina, as this is likely to be billed.

If there was true justice in this world, the people such as the woman I mentioned (and the rest of her young family) would have a host of media attention and volunteer assistance to match that of the worst sections of Hugo. I'll not slam Hugo or the help they have; I am only demanding that justice be met and that those who ALSO need help receive it. The platitudes of the media and some other organizations are sickening and speak of corruption and PR-seeking, while many people in need of assistance are being summarily dismissed. Why?

Because their devastation is quiet drama. But they are no less in need. It is just that their needs are less obvious since their homes were not leveled directly, but will be leveled later.

MAYBE they'll have a brief apppearance in an afterthrough-story in 6 months or so, and at that point the spin from the media will be to point fingers at the government, the churches, the neighbors, or any other convenient target. And the only question we'll have then is...Where were YOU when this story was in progress?

Right. You were selling your soul for money shots where you perceived the real action to be.

There's a reason I didn't go into Journalism. I considered it, but in the end, I decided that Journalism, as a whole, had no soul.

I have not once been proven wrong. Except for my commment here, that is; for one cannot sell a soul that one does not possess.


Terry Nelson said...

Excellent post.

uncle jim said...

i hope you forwarded your remarks to those stations attn the general manager

Ray from MN said...

Just like reporters look for the "money quote" when listening to speeches and statements, photographers most surely are looking for the Pulitzer Prize photo when they are out taking still photos with their fabulously expensive cameras.

And tornadoes would get better coverage if they wouldn't come on weekends when everybody around here is "up at the lake."

Somebody should talk to them!