The Los Angeles Times and the New York Times are doing a great job reporting a backstory in Haiti. Their journalists are telling how broadcast and cable news handled the incredible logistics of deploying their people to Port Au Prince to cover the story. This is not to diminish the role of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube and cell phones, but to get people like Anderson Cooper of CNN, Brian Williams of NBC and Katie Couric of CBS, along with their entourages, to a country with no infrastructure and then see them on the air within 24 hours after the disaster is an incredible feat. I am watching my friend Kerry Sanders, who is based in Miami for NBC News, cover this story and it looks like he is taking this disaster personally. Through exhausted eyes and a sick heart, he is reporting about a country and people he cares about deeply. In one poignant report he said “this city is now the saddest place on Earth.”
What strikes me about the comments following these articles is the vitriol and nastiness aimed at these first responders. Sure these are the “celebrities” of the networks but they go because this is a story of such tremendous magnitude and their reporting is touching people who are in turn helping to open the floodgates of aid to Haiti at this most terrible time. I am shocked that anyone would be critical of these efforts. They are allowing all of us to bear witness and stay informed. They are moving us to reach for our wallets when we are powerless to do anything else. Who cares if the broadcasts are rough? Who cares if Al Roker is doing the weather from the tarmac? He is also interviewing the people from all over the world who are arriving to roll up their sleeves. Why shouldn’t Ann Curry be desperately trying to get on a chopper? Why shouldn’t she rush to the scene along with rescuers and NGOs to cover one of the greatest catastrophes ever? They’re not getting in the way. They’re making sure the Haitian people are not forgotten. I wish I was there with them. Get real, people.
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