The above is a quote from "Covering Haiti: When the Media Is the Disaster," by Rebecca Solnit, which appeared in CommonDreams on Friday. Recommended vis-à-vis NPR & mainstream media reporting on Haiti. It's a lengthy article covering their obsession about "looters," "panic," and "security" since the earthquake on January 12th. The article begins,
Soon after almost every disaster the crimes begin: ruthless, selfish, indifferent to human suffering, and generating far more suffering. The perpetrators go unpunished and live to commit further crimes against humanity. They care less for human life than for property. They act without regard for consequences.I encourage you to read all of it.
I'm talking, of course, about those members of the mass media whose misrepresentation of what goes on in disaster often abets and justifies a second wave of disaster. I'm talking about the treatment of sufferers as criminals, both on the ground and in the news, and the endorsement of a shift of resources from rescue to property patrol. They still have blood on their hands from Hurricane Katrina, and they are staining themselves anew in Haiti.
The article is also featured on TomDispatch. Additionally, I recommend you read the spot-on critique at Lenin's Tomb, which rips apart the media, too.