Social Media Exposes Devastating Effects of Louisiana Flood (Multimedia)
It’s been labeled “the worst U.S. disaster since Hurricane Sandy,” yet many are accusing the mainstream media of providing too little coverage of the catastrophic flooding across Louisiana.
The flooding, which began earlier this week, has left at least 13 people dead and tens of thousands homeless. On Friday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump paid a highly publicized visit to the state, despite a plea from Louisiana’s governor for political figures to avoid photo ops in the flooded areas. “Trump told reporters he came to help out,” reports Bryn Stole of Reuters. “Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office, however, had said Trump did not call to discuss plans.”
Edwards urged Trump to volunteer or make “a sizable donation” instead, although many Trump supporters lambasted his political opponents for failing to appear interested in the devastation:
— Cookie728 (@midinstructor) August 19, 2016
— Patriot2016 (@PatriotJuly1776) August 19, 2016
Social media, which has played a significant role in times of crisis over the last decade, showed the extent of the catastrophe. Many Twitter users shared images of the flooding and its tragic effects:
— Debbie Allen (@msdebbieallen) August 19, 2016
— jaida lashe (@jaidalasheeeee) August 14, 2016
— Gabe Gutierrez (@gabegutierrez) August 14, 2016
— F@tt M@tt (@Mwfontenot17) August 14, 2016
— Pressure? (@asiaared) August 14, 2016
— Patti (@profpatti) August 14, 2016
— Coach Andrus (@coach_andrus) August 13, 2016
— Rachel Richlinski (@RachRichlinski) August 14, 2016
Other users shared evidence of people working to help those affected by the flooding:
— LSU Soccer (@LSUSoccer) August 16, 2016
— angie67 (@AngelaJeannice) August 14, 2016
— Ragin’CajunsFootball (@RaginCajunsFB) August 16, 2016
Danielle DeCourcey of ATTN pointed out the lack of mainstream media coverage of the disaster. “The coverage has been so lackluster that Liz Spayd, the public editor of The New York Times, admitted that her publication was ‘weak’ in its coverage,” DeCourcey notes. Chris Frink, director of the Louisiana Democratic Caucus, explained the importance of the relationship between media coverage and donations. “[T]he density and intensity of media coverage, especially cable and broadcast news, did drive the donations,” he stated.
So far, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Guard and local emergency responders all have participated in aiding the flood-stricken areas. According to CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen, “[r]iver levels are expected to continue to fall, but some will remain in flood [stages] at least through the weekend.”
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