It’s looking as though Mark was right when he remarked, late in yesterday’s comments:
I really fear that the situation in Haiti is about to become much worse. The absence of even water could turn things into a Mad Max scene. With 48 hours of hindsight, I’m thinking we should have air-dropped 20,000 Rangers loaded to the gills with water, MREs and ammo. I hope I’m wrong.
Well, you be the judge:
A photographer working for Time magazine, Shaul Schwarz, told Reuters he had come across two roadblocks made from rocks and corpses. Residents had apparently set up the roadblocks in central Port-au-Prince out of frustration over the trickle of assistance.
“They are starting to block the roads with bodies,” Mr. Schwarz said, quoted by Reuters. “It’s getting ugly out there. People are fed up with getting no help.”
That sounds pretty Mad Max to me. The Big Picture blog just posted a 48-hours-later update that looks the same. It’s Katrina to the power of 10, or maybe 100. It’s frustrating how this nation, so close to the United States, is still so hard to reach, having had sketchy infrastructure in the best of times, and now even the relatively simple act of landing a plane is a chest-clutcher:
“The main thing is to try to establish some order at the airport so we can start getting planes in and out,” said Col. Patrick Hollrah of the Air Force, whose disaster-response team arrived Thursday night from New Jersey aboard a C-17 cargo plane.
In the cockpit of the plane, air traffic chatter could be heard through headsets, giving some sense of the barely controlled confusion in the skies. Planes were being forced to circle for two to three hours before landing.
Yeesh. Meanwhile, what do we think of this? That’s Sanjay Gupta, the CNN correspondent and neurosurgeon, stepping between roles to treat a newborn on camera. I didn’t see it, but the L.A. Times said the network gave it significant play, which sounds about right for CNN — sure, there’s devastation as far as the eye can see, but our handsome staff doctor treated a baby with a cut on her head.
I have CNN on now, and learned that treating the desperate and dying is a daunting task. God damn alliteration. You want a news medium ripe for a total reinvention? Take TV news. Please. I’m often struck, whenever I watch news, either local or national, how paint-by-numbers every part of it is. The local team will feature a man and a woman, one of a non-white persuasion but not threatening to white people, that variety Jon Carroll once brilliantly named Gene Eric Ethnic. The national anchor, usually a hot babe, boots to the correspondent in the field with their strange line readings and head/hand gestures:
Celia, I am STANDing in front of the remains of what was once [gestures] a GROCery store here in Port-au-PRINCE. As you can see, the building is partially collAPSED, and those Haitians who were able to get OUT [furrows brow] are now trying DESperately to help those…who were left [cocks head] beHIND.
You want to know why Rachel Maddow is such a success? She breaks the mold. In some ways, I wish she wasn’t so overtly partisan, just because I’d like to see how she could bring her big brain and no-journalism-school training to straight reporting.
That’s one reason I like much of the web reporting newspapers are doing now. Perhaps because their reporters are too homely to put on camera, they avoid the brain-dead standups and walk-and-talks you see on the local stations.
Which seems as good a time as any to segue to the bloggage, in which it seems to me that the big swingin’ schvantzes of Fox News are taking the opportunity to show the new young doxie on the team who’s the big dog in town. This TPM post about Glenn Beck calling “bullcrap” on Sarah Palin gives an incomplete view of the total weirdness of the segment. For that, you need Jon Stewart, national treasure.
The story made reference to Beck asking Palin to “name her favorite founding father.” She tried the Couric Evasion (“all of them”), which didn’t work then and isn’t working now, because this is Glenn Beck, dammit, and he doesn’t take answers like that from you, missy. Sarah finally settled on George Washington, “because he led them all,” and everyone went away happy.
(I would have said, “Thomas Jefferson, of course — the cute one!”)
Elsewhere, well, two words: Chihuahua airlift.
A local story, but a significant one: A beaten UAW puts its country house on the market. Includes the ashes of Walter Reuther.
Early meeting. Gotta run.