Thursday, September 08, 2005

LINK: Democracy Now! broadcast regarding alleged racism in attitudes and official reaction to New Orleans flood

Democracy Now!, the Pacifica Foundation's five-nights-a-week, hour long newscast, devoted most of the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2005, to stories and interviews which inferred institutional racism has played a role in reactions of individuals and the government to the New Orleans flood.

Go to the DemocracyNow! download page for Sept. 7, where you may choose to download and listen to the MP3 audio version of the cast, or stream the audio version use RealPlayer; or stream the video with RealPlayer.

For a discussion on Tuesday, Sept. 20, please research and answer the following questions. You are encouraged to work in groups of two or three. The expected output will be a blog post, written collectively, summarizing our findings.

1) Make a list (or spread sheet) of each reference in the broadcast to alleged racism. Are there facts presented to support the claim?

2) Classify each reference as a field observation, a factual claim, an analytical judgement or an opinion. How well supported are the observations and claims; how fair are the judgements or opinions?

3) Do you think the broadcast, or parts of it, have a "point of view?" If so, where does that point of view come from and who's interests does it represent?

4) Does the broadcast separate for the viewer/listener facts vs. opinions? Is that necessary?


For each instance of a field observation or factual claim noted above, please use Google and other search and news resources on the Internet, or print or broadcast television/radio sources, to attempt to find additional news or official citations of the same observation or claim.

5) In how many instances can you find additional citations? Describe?

6) Execute additional news searches to find instances of other news organizations, blogs or websites making reference to racism as a issue in the Katrina aftermath.

7) Do you think there is sufficient evidence to conclude that the race of the victims of the New Orleans flood has affected the official reaction to and handling of the disaster aftermath? Do you think it will affect policy decisions about how the cleanup and rebuilding occurs?

8) How should the news media handle this aspect of the Katrina story?


After considering the questions above, your assignment is to write a comment to this post and submit it to this website not later than Thursday, Sept. 15. We will discuss on Tues., Sept. 13 where you should meet on Thurs., Sept. 15. Write your post and submit it based on your individual or team research. Whereever possible, include relevant web links in your comment.

After Thursday, you are to read your classmates' posts and come to class prepared at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 20, to participate in a collective formulation of a single "class post" about this topic.

Questions? Email or call me at my office, 413-458-8001, in Williamstown anytime between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. weekdays.

Also, please check this blog site for additional topical posts or assignments.

-- Bill Densmore

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