Sex-change operations, vacations to the Dominican Republic and wild nights at strip clubs were all bought on the government's dime by both con artists and legitimate victims of Hurricane Katrina. But try to keep that knee from jerking — although FEMA's oversight was lacking, wasted money is an inevitable byproduct of providing rapid emergency assistance.
When I first read these words on the pages of the LA Times, my mind immediately went to a friend of mine- Alfredo. Alfredo is one of my co-workers. Alfredo spends his day cleaning bathrooms, washing tables, sweeping the floors and emptying everyone’s garbage. All the while he is smiling and greeting everyone with a kind word and a warm heart. In the aftermath of the Katrina tragedy, we began collecting money to donate to the Katrina victims. The giant piggy bank sat outside my cubicle for several days. Co-workers would drop by and deposit a $10, $20 or $50 bill into the piggy bank. I never really knew who was dropping the money in; I just knew that folks were donating. One day, as I sat in my cubicle, Alfredo popped in to empty my garbage. As he was leaving, I could hear him quietly digging in his pocket looking for some money to deposit into the piggy bank. He found some change and tried to deposit it as quietly as he could and he moved on. I sat in my cubicle all choked up. I knew the sacrifice that Alfredo had made at that moment, for it was only several days earlier that Alfredo and I were having a conversation about his 6 children. All 6 of Alfredo’s children had just started their school year- it took everything Alfredo had just to make sure they all had the necessary pencils, paper, clothes and new shoes to start the school year. At that moment, Alfredo was a true American hero.
We every event that unfolded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Americans dug deeper and deeper into their pockets to help. How does the media explain the horrific reporting on Hurricane Katrina? With ever horrifying story, Americans kept digging into their pockets.
Here is small list of things that the media told us during their reporting of Hurricane Katrina, none of which were true-
- The media reported that once again, New Orleans had dodged a bullet.
- The media reported that babies were being raped in the Superdome.
- The media reported that bodies were piled up at the Superdome.
- The media reported multiple murders and rapes all around New Orleans
- The media told us that there was no food or water for anyone at the Superdome. (there was a three day supply of MRE’s and 1 bottle of water for all those brought to the Superdome- still an under-reported fact)
- We were told that “George Bush hates black people”.
- We were told that rescuers were being shot at by the people on the ground.
- We were told that no military personnel were there to control the chaos.(over 2500 National Guardsmen were in the city before the hurricane hit)
- We were told that as many at 10,000 people would be found dead. (Mayor Nagin helped with that one and his ordering up 10,000 body bags)
The media created a victim driven crazy monster. Millions of Americans across this country, like me and Alfredo were victimized by the media coverage of Katrina. The images on our TV’s were killing us to watch, we were desperate to help. Literally millions upon millions upon millions of dollars were raised for hurricane victims. Literally billions of our tax dollars were given to help the hurricane victims.
Because the media was so driven by their own agenda to destroy George Bush, they believed every single lie being told to them. They did very little to check out some of these stories. The more outrageous the story, the faster the media pushed to get it into print.
In their angst to destroy George Bush, the media even forgot about the true American heroes. The media spoke very little about the thousands of helicopter pilots and rescue workers, working day and night to save lives. The media said very little about the tens of thousands of volunteers who packed up their vehicles with everything they thought might help, and on their own, they drove down to the Gulf coast. The media said very little about the thousands of churches sending food, clothes and volunteers to the Gulf region. Many of those churches are still in the Gulf region feeding, clothing and helping the Gulf region rebuild. The media said very little about the millions of Americans shelling out billions of dollars to help.
Instead the media choose to tout Hugo Chavez as the real hero. The dictator that cannot feed his own people, but just to stick in the eye of George Bush, chose to send some cash and oil. The media enjoyed touting the dictator’s response, but ignored the millions of hard working Americans making huge sacrifices to help.
The media forgot about my friend, Alfredo.
Now, to further add insult to injury, the LA Times has chosen to lecture us on whether or not we should be angry when we find out how our money has been spent. Instead they chose to make excuses, telling us that a certain amount of fraud should be expected.
The media’s excuses are just not good enough for me. The media tells us that we should not blame the victims, so who should we be angry with? The Federal Government did exactly what the media demanded- they tossed good money after bad in order to help the hurricane victims. The American people did exactly what the media demanded- we gave millions upon millions to help hurricane victims.
Then the media made Hugo Chavez the hero and George Bush and the American people the villains.
The question is whether or not America will ever get past this? In the next natural disaster, will the American people ever give as much as they did for Hurricane Katrina victims? Will Americans ever trust their TV screens and their newspapers again, knowing that much of the stuff we see and read is not trustworthy?
I sure hope so. I do have my doubts. Do you blame me? After the GAO report was released showing the billions of dollars wasted, I was made a victim of Hurricane Katrina also.