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Katrina

"Katrina" Continued...

Issue: "News of the year," Dec. 31, 2005

ABC's John Stossel reported that 400 doctors, nurses, and first responders were ready to head into New Orleans. "Then FEMA gave them something to do: fill out 60-page applications that demanded photographs and tax forms." The doctors and nurses wanted to bring with them bandages, splints, and medicine, but "FEMA said they needed two state permits to transport these items from Tennessee to Mississippi. The supplies were only sent when two guys showed up with a church van and volunteered to take them-as rogue responders without FEMA's permission."

Rogue responders saved thousands of lives. Coast Guard and Louisiana National Guard chopper pilots flew in right behind Katrina and performed thousands of rescues. So did volunteers in their own boats called into action by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. They didn't wait for paperwork from FEMA, the governor, or the mayor.

Few journalists knew or reported this story because the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries wasn't on press call lists. But former reporter and firefighter Lou Dolinar, noting a Louisiana death toll of about 1,000 rather than the 10,000 or more Mayor Nagin had predicted for New Orleans alone, credited the volunteer response that "was immediate and massive-it just wasn't the response the media wanted, expected, or was spoon-fed at a press conference. [Since] there was no central clearinghouse for information on rescue efforts, what looked like a hurricane relief breakdown was in fact a press release breakdown."

Paperocracy ruled the press as well.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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