Anderson Cooper's back in New Orleans, and the first hour of his newscast Monday night included a "Keeping Them Honest" piece on returned FEMA trailers having been vandalized, approximately 10% of them, according to the report. What wasn't included: the dollar value of the damage (just to compare with, say, the money drained off the recovery by the Army Corp's five-tier subcontractor structure) and, most crucially, a comparison with, just to pick a state, Florida, after Hurricane Andrew. Without such comparative measures, this story--like so much TV coverage--registers as "never before". If such vandalism had occurred in previous disasters, of course, this would register as far less of a story, and hence, far less worth three minutes of air time.
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