12/20/2005 01:51 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Picking on Kerry, Again

Kerry Sanders is apparently NBC's guy in New Orleans. Today, he filed a report on MSNBC about the questions surrounding the rebuilding of the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood. So far, so good. But, in repeating the cliches--poor, mainly black, heavily damaged--Sanders ignored the truly newsworthy fact about this neighborhood: unlike most poor, black districts of most American cities, the Lower Ninth was almost sixty percent owner-occupied. That is, this was a neighborhood not of renters or public-housing dwellers, but of homeowners. In many cases, the homes had been in the families for two or three generations. That would seem to change the politics, the economics, the principles of deciding what happens to this neighborhood--which was, after all, the focus of Sanders' story.