The Bloody Finger of Al-Reuters Points Again

By now, most blog readers have seen the famous “news” “reportage” by Reuters.

Warning: the blatant Bush-bashing in the first sentence of the story could be bad for your blood pressure if you’re at all sensitive to journalists’ standards — especially the rule that prohibits editorializing in news stories, the rule that says a good journalist saves the snarky comments for analysis rather than “reporting.”

This is by no means the worst of the lot, but it contains the essential ingredients for a recipe of reporter-as-useful-idiot that it ought to be saved and served up in Journalism 101 at, say, Columbia’s school of journalism, that bastion from which steely-eyed, objective “journalists” are extruded every year.

     New Orleans collects dead as officials dodge blame
By Mark Egan
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) — New Orleans began the gruesome task of collecting its thousands of dead on Sunday as the Bush administration tried to save face after its botched rescue plans left the city at the mercy of Hurricane Katrina.

You don’t need to be told how egregious this is. But thanks to Jeff at Geopolitical Review, we now have a contact page for Al-Reuters. You can email the editors if you like. I suggest that you do so, and for this reason: complaining about something without addressing the complaint is not good for your health or for the commonweal.

Contact ReutersBefore you send your email to Reuters, I suggest you read the whole story, linked above. The writer, Mark Egan, goes on to “report” that Donald Rumsfeld toured the scene and shook hands with the doctors and not the victims. As I mentioned in my email and in the post here, he would have been unwise to come into physical contact with anyone who has been exposed to the contaminated and extremely poisonous cesspool of Katrina’s aftermath.

Egan doesn’t mention that even the reporters who were immersed in the “toxic gumbo” are also at risk. Perhaps he doesn’t even know — which, if that is the case, simply underlines his ignorance and questions his credentials for reporting on this mess.

However, Mr. Egan does manages a swipe at Condoleezza Rice by saying this:

     Rice was slammed by critics on the Internet after she attended a New York performance of the Monty Python musical “Spamalot” on Wednesday, a day after New Orleans flooded.

Notice that he doesn’t say who these critics were, nor does he cite his source. Nor does he say why the activities of the Secretary of State are germane to policy re the Katrina clean-up.

So this is journalism, huh? This is professional? This has integrity? Scurrilous, that’s what it is. No wonder that organization has been called al-Reuters. In the interests of protecting our country, Gates of Vienna is doing its small part by posting a permanent link to Reuters’ contact page. This is not going to go away until the useful idiots understand what they are doing.

Some teacher ought to make Mark Egan sit down and write a hundred times:

I will learn the difference between reporting and opinion.

Make that a thousand times. No… make it a life-long penance in remorse for attempting to damage the commonweal. In the old days, when journalism had standards, he would have been contemned and his story would have been spiked. But those days are over and the days of the useful idiots are here.

Don’t let them get away with it.

4 thoughts on “The Bloody Finger of Al-Reuters Points Again

  1. …tried to save face…

    …political ineptitude…

    …Bush, who in a rare admission of error…

    …but walked right by a dozen refugees…

    …Critics have said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has lost its effectiveness…

    …Rice was slammed by critics…

    …New Orleans’ predominantly black storm victims… signs of racial neglect…

    (Additional reporting by Kerry Wutkoski and Phil Barbara in Washington; Mark Babineck in New Orleans; Erwin Seba, Paul Simao and Jim Loney in Baton Rouge, Peter Cooney and Adam Tanner in Houston, Matt Daily in Biloxi, Steve Holland, Charles Aldinger, John Whitesides and Eric Walsh in Washington)

    I guess it takes a village of reporters to make an ass of yourself.

    Now I’m off to Al-Rooters…

  2. To the editors of Reuters News Service,

    This note is meant to alert you of the rage and disgust I feel at reading the opinions, insinuations, and biased modifiers gratuitously inserted in the article under the byline of your writer Mark Egan, among the occasional facts in his article “ New Orleans collects dead as officials dodge blame”
    which I found at your website

    In an article of approximately 1050 words, some 135 of them — 13 per cent, if statistics matter — are unsupported, un-answered assertions that the devastation and suffering are the fault of the Federal government generally, the incompetence of FEMA, or of President Bush himself.

    The piece’s lack of professionalism — of the most basic objectivity called for by journalistic standards — is has not yet become fully the standard for reporting of events by Reuters and other previously respectable news organizations. But it is alarmingly characteristic. Still, this article is among the most egregious I’ve encountered. Without citing any background or support information whatsoever, it blames the Bush Administration and various federal officials and agencies for the vast human suffering in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

    This is intolerable, not because I admire Bush, but because I have some knowledge of disaster preparedness and response.

    Egan, Wutkoski, P. Barbar, M. Babineck, E. Xeba, P. Simao, et al., may have among them some facts in the situation, but the article does nothing to inform us of how they conclude suffering was caused or enhanced by any action or failure of the Federal Government.

    It would be interesting to know if any of the reporters contributing to this pack of slander have ever had so much as a day’s training in first aid, emergency response, medical triage, disaster preparedness, disaster relief, or the laws and restrictions deriving from Section 1385 of Title 18, United States Code, known as the Posse Comitatus Act.

    Could a single one of these gutless scribblers actually describe in any detail what is required to load, fuel, crew, and transport a convoy of relief supplies through two hundred kilometers of blasted landscape, removing trees and debris every few feet; providing food and shelter for the drivers along the way, and ensuring sufficient fuel and supplies so that once they arrive, they can sustain themselves for whatever period they may have to wait for their own re-supply or relief? Can any one of these alleged reporters describe for even a SINGLE type of helicopter, its rate of fuel consumption, fuel capacity, load capacity, crew requirements, and range? Ditto for Naval Vessels…

    If not, these writers presume to pass judgment on a phenomenon far beyond their reckoning.

    The citing of al-qaeda linked sources in this context is particularly repellent, indicating the writer’s sense that we readers must give credence to the suggestion from TERRORISTS that the suffering from Katrina flows from “the wrath of God.”

    I am sickened by the continuing descent of journalism into an unrepentant spewing of allegations, conjecture, surmise, and feeling presented as fact. This is not reporting; it is sneering insult, partisan garbage slinging, designed to infuriate not inform.

    This is conspicuously and precisely the reason readers like me are abandoning the MainStream Media in search of reportage with somewhat more reliable descriptions and footnotes.

    David March, animator & fiddler
    Virginia Beach, VA

Comments are closed.