This entry was posted on
Friday, October 21st, 2005 at
10:12 am and is filed
under Rupert ‘The Evil One’ Murdoch.
Last night on Question Time (click video link and go to 33:30), Matthew Parris (opinion writer for the Times) pondered on the funny nature of predicted disasters and how they never seemed to happen. He spoke of the millennium bug and planes not falling from the sky, made a groan-worthy joke or two about Bird Flu (Bird Lemsip, Bird Kleenex)… and he also had this to say on the recent hurricane activity in the States:
“We didn’t predict the disaster in New Orleans, however the predicted disaster from Hurricane Katrina didn’t happen.”
This is why they give them girlie names, people! To make them easier to re-mem-ber! (And, of course, to taunt them into submission).
No matter. A simple mix-up. Could happen to anyone under those bright studio lights. Johnny-on-the-spot and all.
But what are we to make of the declaration – based, one would think, on a level of certainty – that no-one predicted the disaster in New Orleans?
In truth, the disaster was predicted by many people.
National Geographic have this article from October 2004 that borders on the prophetic.
Also widely reported is this: In 2002, the New Orleans Times Picayune published a five-part series on “The Big One” examining what might happen if they did. It predicted that 200,000 people or more would be unwilling or unable to heed evacuation orders and thousands would die, that people would be housed in the Superdome, that aid workers would find it difficult to gain access to the city as roads became impassable, as well as many other of the consequences that actually unfolded after Katrina hit this week.
Not enough? How about this article from 2001?
Before the disaster, there were all sorts of serious conversations going on that ranged from the environment to budgets, and even – occasionally – to basic preparedness for dangers that do *not* wear towels on their heads.
The ‘no-one could have predicted it’ message was one of many designed to shield the Bush administration from criticism when Hurricane Katrina (or Deidre, or Marjorie, or whatever) revealed the true cost of recent moral bankruptcy.
Matthew Parris is a man who forms opinions based not on facts, but on propaganda… propaganda that just happens to generated, enhanced and/or transmitted verbatim primarily by his boss.
For some reason, that makes me slightly wary of his opinion.