Rhonda Robinson

The Worst Disaster Since the Civil War But Not as News Worthy as an Oil Spill

Posted on May 5 2010 9:30 pm
Rhonda Robinson is part of NewsReal's editorial team. As a columnist, Rhonda has provided readers with thoughtful insight into social, political, and parenting issues since 1995.
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Cars, Trucks and Buildings floating down Nashville highway 24

While Katie Couric and Michael Bloomberg were surmising that Tea Party Patriots were behind the failed New York bombing, Nashville was waking up to the aftermath of the area’s largest rainfall in 500 years.

The storms began rolling in Saturday afternoon as I watched the radar. By early evening, I was glued to the local news. People were fleeing their cars, as they began to float. A Christian school building was swept away and joined cars and trucks drifting down highway 24.

The damage is devastating, the cost is in the billions; thousands have lost everything, but is it news worthy? Not really, not to the extent it deserves. Some are asking why, but some of us believe the answer is obvious.

In an excellent article by Nashville native, Patten Fuqua, entitled “We Are Nashville” Fuqua abandons his usual topic of hockey and ponders the same question. Why so little media coverage?

Fuqua writes:

If you live outside of Nashville, you may not be aware, but our city was hit by a 500-year flood over the last few days. The national news coverage gave us 15 minutes, but went back to focusing on a failed car bomb and an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. While both are clearly important stories, was that any reason to ignore our story?

The Cumberland River crested at its highest level in over 80 years. Nashville had its highest rainfall totals since records began. People drowned…It is the single largest disaster to hit Middle Tennessee since the Civil War. And yet…no one knows about it.

It seems bizarre that no one seems to be aware that we just experienced what is quite probably the costliest non-hurricane disaster in American history. The funds to rebuild will have to come from somewhere, which is why people need to know. It’s hard to believe that we will receive much relief if there isn’t a perception that we need it.

A large part of the reason that we are being ignored is because of who we are. Think about that for just a second. Did you hear about looting? Did you hear about crime sprees? No…you didn’t. You heard about people pulling their neighbors off of rooftops. You saw a group of people trying to move two horses to higher ground. No…we didn’t loot.

That does say a lot about our city. There are no mass crime sprees, no mass looting.

But what kind of story is that? The Left loves victims. Victims they can use, that is. Preferably, victims that depended on the government, but the system failed. Therefore, a call for more, bigger, and better government is the topic of choice in a disaster situation of any proportion.

There is no story of the “haves” taking advantage of the “have-nots,” only neighbors and churches and communities across the bible-belt pulling together.

No one is calling for a faster cape-clad Uncle Sam. We’re not blaming Obama, Bush, the Tea Party or any corporation. So what’s a leftist media to cover?

Conclusion—no real story here.

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