Why You Know Nothing About the Nashville Flood

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When Anderson Cooper is late to your local disaster, you know something is wrong. But it wasn’t just the Silver Fox who sat out the devastating Nashville floods. Here’s Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post:

The New York Times sent a reporter to Nashville, but the story never made the front page. The Washington Post relied solely on the Associated Press. The Los Angeles Times used a staffer who did not travel to Tennessee. ABC, CBS and NBC sent correspondents whose pieces aired for a day or two on the morning and evening newscasts. Such reports often mentioned that the Opryland Hotel was under nearly 10 feet of water but had little time to explore the scope and texture of the human suffering.

…There’s little question that the other two mega-stories had far greater national implications. The Times Square plot exposed gaps in the country’s terrorism defenses, and administration officials have linked the unsuccessful attack to the Pakistani Taliban. The BP debacle threatens the coastline of several states and has reshaped the debate over the safety of offshore drilling.

In Nashville, though, a storied American city suffered a devastating blow and many lives were lost. It’s too bad the news business seems able to juggle only one or two crises at a time.

Bob Sellers was a bit more pointed over at Huffington Post:

It took well known musicians like Keith Urban and Vince Gill to get the concerted attention of the national media. On Thursday the 6th, Anderson Cooper came to town and gave a voice to flood victims who, with the spirit of the deeply faithful, resolutely face their uncertain future. It was late in the week, but Tennesseans appreciate gracious guests, even when they don’t show up on time.

Yes, terrorism is a threat. But nobody died with the bomb that didn’t go off in Times Square. Twenty-three people lost their lives in the flood, and roughly twenty-thousand individuals so far have applied for federal aid to get them back on their feet. And while the oil leak in the gulf allowed cable networks to fill hours of programming by calling upon their usual political guests inside the Beltway to talk about the blessings and curses of drilling offshore, the reality is that the debate over drilling will not end with this spill–or the next.

We know from experience that when it rains in New York, the whole country gets wet. When it snows there, the Ice Age is upon us. But news goes on outside of New York and Washington. There’s a whole country out there. And stories worth telling.

Sources: Washington Post, Huffington Post

Image by president raygun, licensed under Creative Commons.

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