New Orleans has only been underwater for a day or so, but I guess it’s never too early for hair-trigger charges of racism to surface. The latest meme is that Yahoo! News is racist because it reports that black people “loot” while white people “find” things. Blogger Dustin3000 displays the following picture and asks readers if they notice anything different between them:
I know, I know! The man in the first photo is holding a garbage bag full of junk, which is consistent with having entered into a store and looted it, while the man and woman depicted below hold only two items they reportedly found elsewhere. No? That’s not it? OK, how about this, then: the stories were written by two different news agencies, with different reporting policies, and those big racist meanies at Yahoo! had the gall to carry both companies’ feeds.
Using that strategy, of course, one can “prove” just about anything. Maybe now someone will “prove” Google News is run by a bunch of anti-Semites who think Israel is guilty of terrorism but Hamas and al-Qaeda are militants at worst, or freedom fighters, at best. It can’t be that hard to do; just locate one article written by al Jazeera, Indymedia or any of the other nutball organizations Google considers “news,” and two more from Reuters or the BBC.
UPDATE: Via commenter Geoff, Chris Graythen, the photographer who wrote the “finding” piece weighs in. Apparently, he chose the word “finding” rather than “looting” because … surprise of all surprises … that’s what he thinks happened:
I wrote the caption about the two people who ‘found’ the items. I believed in my opinion, that they did simply find them, and not ‘looted’ them in the definition of the word. The people were swimming in chest deep water, and there were other people in the water, both white and black. I looked for the best picture. there were a million items floating in the water – we were right near a grocery store that had 5+ feet of water in it. it had no doors. the water was moving, and the stuff was floating away. These people were not ducking into a store and busting down windows to get electronics. They picked up bread and cokes that were floating in the water. They would have floated away anyhow. I wouldn’t have taken in, because I wouldn’t eat anything that’s been in that water. But I’m not homeless. (well, technically I am right now.)
Never mind that, though. To the race pimps, all that matters is that one news agency accused a looter of looting, another news agency didn’t accuse two non-looters of looting, therefore, everyone’s a racist.
UPDATE x2: The offending page has now been “privatized,” which I assume is a euphemism for “taken down in embarrassment.” Nevertheless, the Idiette insists an apology is due – from the AP, of course, not from her.
UPDATE x3: Snopes muddies the waters further, alleging it is “true” that the news described a black guy as “looting” and two white guys as “finding.” They are reasonably clear on the fact that the AFP and the AP are two different news agencies, but you have to read their article carefully, thoroughly and a bit defensively to figure out the real issue: the black guy in one picture really was carrying a bag of stuff he almost certainly looted (AP photographer Dave Martin claims to have witnessed it), and the two white guys in the other really were holding two individual grocery items they almost certainly did not loot.