Thanks in part to the terrorist bombing in Times Square and the BP Gulf oil spill the floods that have devastated Nashville has received scant coverage by comparison.
As you may have heard, torrential downpours in the southeast flooded the Tennessee capital of Nashville over the weekend, lifting the Cumberland River 13 feet above flood stage, causing an estimated $1 billion in damage, and killing more than 30 people. It could wind up being one of the most expensive natural disasters in U.S. history.
Or, on second thought, maybe you didn’t hear. With two other “disasters” dominating the headlines—the Times Square bombing attempt and the Gulf oil spill—the national media seems to largely to have ignored the plight of Music City since the flood waters began inundating its streets on Sunday. A cursory Google News search shows 8,390 hits for “Times Square bomb” and 13,800 for “BP oil spill.” “Nashville flood,” on the other hand, returns only 2,430 results—many of them local. As Betsy Phillips of the Nashville Scene writes, “it was mind-boggling to flip by CNN, MSNBC, and FOX on Sunday afternoon and see not one station even occasionally bringing their viewers footage of the flood, news of our people dying.”
So why the cold shoulder? I see two main reasons. First, the modern media may be more multifarious than ever, but they’re also remarkably monomaniacal. In a climate where chatter is constant and ubiquitous, newsworthiness now seems to be determined less by what’s most important than by what all those other media outlets are talking about the most. Sheer volume of coverage has become its own qualification for continued coverage. (Witness the Sandra Bullock-Jesse James saga.) In that sense, it’s easy to see why the press can’t seem to focus on more than one or two disasters at the same time. Everyone is talking about BP and Faisal Shahzad 24/7, the “thinking” goes. So there must not be anything else that’s as important to talk about. It’s a horrible feedback loop.
So maybe today flooding isn’t sexy and the other stories may carry more weight but this is still a major U.S. city that has been battered by a 100 year event and will be several months at a minimum before tourists will be able to enjoy Nashville like they did before the flood,
What Newseek’s Romano didn’t say though was the last thing the liberal media wants to do is show how inept the Obama adminitration is when faced with a natural disaster. They fear Obama will pull a Bush like Katrina response and sink the Democrats even more so than he already has done and they don’t want that to happen.
It’s not that the flooding isn’t compelling enough but it is because the mainstream media is still biased towards the White House on this issue.