Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina's Not Necessarily A Big Deal Once You Leave The U.S.

Asian Media, In Particular, Don't Feel Inclined to Share Gulf Coast Pain
Rare is the U.S. media outlet that gives more than a few paragraphs to typhoons in places like Bangladesh and India, even when hundreds perish. It happens often enough, and to people who don't look like us or speak our language, that the media rarely pays them much mind.
The tsunami was a different story, of course, but even then it happened a world away and it was hard to truly get a grip on the devastation. We no longer have that luxury, of course. But do the media in other countries care? It depends on where you're reading.
Not a problem in the U.K., where The Guardian has been going heavy with coverage from the start. This morning's online edition has nine links to the main story and sidebars, including angles American media still covering the breaking story have not turned to, including how erosion caused by human activity left the Mississippi Delta vulnerable.,16441,1560764,00.html
The Daily Telegraph included a selection of increasingly desperate and angry blog entries from all over.
The Times of London has a couple of correspondents in the hurricane zone, including Chris Ayres in Biloxi, who got this saucy quote from a survivor:
“Well baby, here in the South we’ve been through this kind of thing before,” she said. “We just clean up and get on with it. I know that God will take care of me.”,,11069-1759669,00.html
But the media is much more blase in Asia three days after Katrina. The home page of Hong Kong's South China Morning Post instead had a snap of Typhoon Talim battering Taiwan, and only mentioned Katrina in reference to out-of-control oil prices. Katrina's also disappeared from the World Headlines of Asahi Shimbun.
Bangkok's The Nation is focused on its nation, not ours. The New Straits Times in Kuala Lampur used copy from AFP, but it was the last item in its World Section roundup. Instead, the lead story on the home page was about a film festival in Deauville, France. It's as if the Asian media had done its due diligence reporting on when the hurricane hit and is now moving on to other pursuits.
Turnabout is apparentlyfair play.

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