The triple landfall of Hurricane Harvey has brought with it utter devastation, the likes of which have never been seen in some parts of Texas. Unprecedented floods have inundated thousands of homes, leaving Houston’s largest shelter overflowing at double its capacity. The idea of the scores of Texans left homeless and destitute, with nothing left to return to, is truly horrendous. The media’s response, however, is obscene.
After the worst of the storm, a general sense of camaraderie arose throughout the nation, the Southeast in particular. A plethora of Louisiana volunteers, “the Cajun Navy,” immediately mobilized with boats and made way for Houston to join the overwhelmed Texas search and rescue forces while messages of hope, motivation and sympathy were exchanged between the two states over Twitter and Facebook. New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu reactivated the “NOLA Pay it Forward Fund,” echoing the desire of so many natives that wanted to lend a hand to the same Texas communities that were here for us during our darkest hours 12 years ago. Even further, organizations and celebrities pledged donations via social networks based off of retweets and shares. Overall, the nation galvanized in such a profound way, utilizing every resource to aid those affected. Yet, the collaborative efforts throughout the nation didn’t seem to mollify the mass media.
At this point, it seems to be evident that the media exploits divisions in our country for their own benefit. They seem to represent behemoth groups of ideological people that simply don’t exist. No matter the magnitude of the circumstances, the sentiments of the people affected, or the reactions of those unaffected, the mass media finds a way to enlarge some aspect of the situation as not only negative, but horrific. As Paul Bois wrote in The Daily Wire, “Everything must always have some social dimension or a darkness dwelling beneath the façade.”
As locals on airboats risked their lives to rescue African-American families stranded in their drowning houses, the media pointed out rebel flag bumper stickers on the flaps of their crafts.
As Texas leaders asked for federal help in Congress, the media called them hypocrites for voting against previous bills that allotted funding for Hurricane Sandy relief.
And most maliciously, the media ran stories proclaiming that illegal immigrants weren’t seeking rescue in their fears of being deported by local authorities.
Such heinous and absurd headlines don’t even deserve to be combated with a rebuttal, but, in this case, I feel that it would be irresponsible to spectate. In truth, the fact that the same people that fly the rebel flag are risking their lives for people of all color and ethnicity just goes to show that the majority of rebel flag bearers are not, in fact, the goose-walking neo Nazis that they’re played up to be. That Hurricane Sandy Relief bill? It appropriated a whopping $60 billion in “relief funds,” but not just to the areas the superstorm inflicted wounds upon. According to National Review, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act set aside $16 billion to send money to any state that had declared a disaster in the previous two years. Only three states had not. The request also included portions that aided fisheries in Alaska, and augmented Amtrak railroads. As for the deportation of illegal immigrants that wished to be rescued, the shelters, and even the Mayor of Houston, repeatedly asserted that they would not check for immigration papers, and that their only objective was to safely evacuate all those in harm’s way.
Moreover, the media has once again declared where its loyalty lies: ratings. The popular conversation has gone from praising the collaborative efforts of the authorities and citizens to shaming specific aspects of the predicament that contain absolutely no relevance. That said, I would like to congratulate the mass media; not for its journalistic integrity or values, but for its uncanny ability to encourage infighting for its own benefit. Weeks after we gathered to watch The Great American Solar Eclipse, we experience its successor: the mass media, as it eclipses the true events unfolding in Houston and emanates its own delusional accounts.
Every total solar eclipse does, however, have a diamond ring (the last sliver of sunlight before totality). In this case, CNN may be have released one story that was just that, as seen below. May it not be the last.