Tuesday, August 30, 2005

First there were no Terrorists

Actually, first there were no "rioters" in Los Angeles (post-Rodney King).

But now there are no "looters" in New Orleans. Some of the AP photos moving on the wire tonight do use the word. But as the night goes on there are fewer and fewer of that sort. And more and more like this:

"People remove items from a Winn-Dixie store in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005."

"A man pulls two carts filled with various items in parking lot at a Super Wal-Mart in the Garden district in New Orleans on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005. Hurricane Katrina hit the city Monday causing massive flooding and power outages."

[Visible in the car are a whole lot of power tools, motor oil, and a big cooler]

"People remove items from a closed Foot Action store at the intersection of Bourbon and Canal streets after floodwaters rose in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Tuesday, Aug., 30, 2005, in New Orleans."

"Persons remove goods from a closed Super Wal-Mart in the Garden District of New Orleans, Tuesday, Aug. 30,2005."

[bicycles, clothing ....]

"People remove items from a Winn-Dixie store in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005."

Among the odd coincidences, as of right now I'm not finding any of these online.

UPDATE: AP is definitely being real cagey with pictures and this word. A picture just moved, in which you can see four people, but in such a way that you can't see their faces. Here's the entire caption: "Authorities said looting was becoming a problem at a number of stores and casinos along the Mississippi Gulf Coast Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005 in Biloxi, Miss. These individuals were photographed exiting a closed store along the beachfront carrying bags of merchandise."

AP is refering to "looting" in its stories, but the issue here seems to be that pictures contain images of identifiable people. And AP doesn't want to call them "looters," even though that's clearly what they're doing. I'm afraid the issue here, among the editors, may be one of sensitivity, since all the people in the "looting" pictures moved so far are non-caucasian.

UPDATE UPDATE: I got called a racist in a comment for saying this at Winds of Change. Look, I am commenting on the photographs moved by the Associated Press. Which means the things their cameras captured in the places their cameramen and -women went. Perhaps somewhere else in the blasted south coast of America there are hordes of fair-haired looters. Wouldn't be the first time, as Alfred the Great would know.

I am 2,000 miles from the scene. And I'm looking at these hundreds of pictures chosen by the greatest newsgathering organization in the country, and beamed to the world. And I'm speculating on what goes on in the heads of the faceless journalists behind this picture stream. And I'm wondering if racial sensitivity doesn't play a part in their choice of words. If that's "racism" on my part, so be it.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE: Welcome, Atrios readers, to whom I'm also offered as an instance, presumably, of racism. That in a thread that also includes this gem:

This is just what whites needed down there. A wake up call. No anti-white government forces in sight.

A break in all Zogian Formality.

No enforcable quota, no darkiesports on TV, no TV at all! Societies, after all this TV induced 'humanity' quickly wears off, will naturally and completely segregate.

Calls for revolution shall be heard in the airwaves. Bush currently cowers! His law is too busy in iraq. TVless non-christian non-obese white man, now is the oppertunity to carve your own path!

Opinion Journal, meanwhile, has been monitoring the kooks at DemocraticUnderground.

[T]hey're holding a debate over whether it is acceptable for a looter to shoot a policeman in the head. You'll be relieved to learn that even the DU denizens mostly think it isn't, but there are some notable exceptions.

"I think before we start judging the shooter, we need to consider that he/she could very well be in shock," writes "huskerlaw." "None of us know what the circumstances were." And "MrsGrumpy" doesn't believe looting is going on: "I just find it funny all of a sudden how we all believe the mainstream media and these 'looting' stories when people are missing or lost. And, I've been feeling. Go ahead and slam me. We are all in this together, with the exception of the ass in the oval office."