Anderson Cooper, the people of New Orleans taught you, in the days and weeks post-Katrina, about the plight of disaster victims and our desperate need to survive. You learned from us how important is water when you are left without shelter in a warm/tropical climate. You learned from us how desperate a parent becomes when she sits for days on end listening to her child cry out for food. And you learned from us the damage media and journalists can cause by exaggerating rumors of violence and chaos.
We taught you this.
Unfortunately, now some 4.5 years later, you lost these lessons on the way to Haiti, as evidenced by your live story today describing as ‘looters’ and ‘thieves’ the Haitian victims struggling to enter any and every grocery store accessible – to obtain food and water – to survive.
Unbelievably, your report was sympathetic of Tony Bennett, the Miami ‘businessman’ who has armed himself and two (2) Haitian police with glocks and automatic weapons, and barricaded a Port-au-Prince street in order to keep these starving earthquake victims from taking food and water from his store. (To see the report, click here)
What’s wrong with you Anderson?
A responsible journalist would have been questioning the sanity and humanity of Tony Bennett, this Spawn of Satan, for ever contemplating closing his business and denying basic survival means to these victims. Here are a few questions you might have asked him:
“Why are you treating these victims this way? Is there some big market the rest of the world doesn’t know about for food recovered during a natural disaster? Where, exactly, are you going to sell this water?”
“Sir, instead of arming what is now your own private militia, why don’t you ask these Haitian police officers to help you distribute these perishables so that these mothers won’t have to pay for water, and food, and baby formula?”
“Excuse me, Mr. Bennett, I’m just curious. How are you going to sleep tonight, knowing you’ve denied food and water to hungry children?”
See Anderson, you know the difference between “looter/thief” and “survivor” and, most importantly, how to report accurately this distinction. We taught you that. You know how to identify and expose a disaster capitalist. We taught you that. You know how to report accurately from ground-zero of a major natural disaster. We taught you that.
Shame on you, Anderson Cooper, for forgetting your lessons and, in the process, re-victimizing the people of Haiti. You know better.
Tracie L. Washington is an attorney and Co-Director of Louisiana Justice Institute, www.LouisianaJusticeInstitute.org.