Many people put their trust in national media to inform them of the news they need to know, but the growing number of skeptics and the various secrets exposed from leak activists have opened the floodgates of reality. The truth is no longer as black and white as morality once suggested, and the media is merely a theatrical performance of a true story, sending us on a wild good chase to decipher fact from fiction.
Time and time again we hear why certain stories continue to make coverage, and others don’t, and it’s always discouraging. It’s an election year, so of course we will scroll through the Internet to find various headlines slamming or praising one candidate or the other. The Olympics are on, so of course, along with the celebration of Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, and other incredible athletes, there is talk of bullying, racism, algae in the pool, body shaming, and more.
Certain stories are profitable, while others are not.
Weather, for example, is typically the type of story that can snag a serious headline — even a middle-of-nowhere tornado with no major property damage or injuries reported gets major coverage. But oddly enough, the recent flooding in Louisiana has gone overlooked.
The Louisiana flooding has been disastrous and tragic. The rain commenced on August 11 and continued into the weekend, with heavy rain dumping down across much of the northern Gulf Coast and the heaviest rainfall coming to southern Louisiana, with totals in excess of 20″ common around Baton Rouge.
The Weather Prediction Center referred to the storm as “an inland sheared tropical depression,” meaning that the event was the result of deep tropical moisture along with a surface and upper low pressure tandem.
The CoCoRaHS — a citizen-based weather reporting network — reported rainfall from the weekend close to 30” across the region, and 10-20” of rain being the average. The result was a whopping four trillion gallons of rainfall.
The storm resulted in 11 river gauges in southeast Louisiana setting all time record highs, 20,000 people having to be rescued, and 10,000 people being put in shelters. Even more devastating, 13 people lost their lives.
Yet it took the national media quite some time to catch on. In fact, on the very morning a reporter from WRBZ News Tweeted that an estimated 100,500 people lost everything in Livingston Parish alone, CNN barely mentioned the flooding, simply saying actor Wendell Pierce lost his home.
The outcome, from loss of property and life to overwhelming human displacement, is simply heartbreaking. There are so many questions when all is said and done, and the media plays a large part in aiding response to these disasters through prompt and breaking coverage. People affected may not know where to start, but they generally know they need help, whether that be through donations of supplies, time, or money. But when no one knows just how bad things are, it’s hard to get help quickly, or at all.
So why the lack of coverage? Was it because it wasn’t referred to as a storm? Because it wasn’t a hurricane? Is there too much “breaking news” that it’s hard to discern what’s actually important anymore?
It’s not a story of looting, of riots, of leaks, of a naked Donald Trump statue. No. It’s a tragedy that has brought together friends, family, and neighbors. It is about people helping others before they help themselves. It’s not mindless banter between politicians. It’s the reality of tremendous human struggle and resilience.
So, if you didn’t know about the floods, now you do. Thanks for reading.
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