The AP’s Frazier Moore…
Fox News Channel correspondent Jeff Goldblatt interrupted his dispatch to warn a man he saw filling a plastic jug from a fountain.
“Sir, that water isn’t clean,” he told the man.
The torrent of images recalled 9/11, except this stretched for miles. It recalled the Asian tsunami tragedy, except this was home, the victims our neighbors.
But this spectacle of correspondents buffeted by wind and rain was only the prelude.
MSNBC’s Sean McLaughlin stood in a portable lift Monday morning and hoisted himself to the ceiling of the studio in Secaucus, N.J., to demonstrate how high Katrina’s wall of water might rise when it slammed the Gulf Coast.
But by week’s end, this exercise, like so many other previews, betrayed an all-too-understandable failure of imagination. It suggested surgically imposed devastation - a catastrophe apart from human miseries like death, disease, hunger and thirst.
And separation from loved ones. CNN introduced a “Victims and Relief Desk” service to help connect missing and stranded people with their families and friends. Who could have imagined such a need a week earlier?
After days of this, viewers might reasonably have felt overwhelmed.
At least one correspondent in the middle of it readily admitted he did.
“Even when you’re on the ground, it’s mind-numbing,” CNN correspondent John Zarrella told The Associated Press.
“There’s one horrific image after another. It comes at you from every direction,” he said Wednesday, just arrived in Baton Rouge after reporting from New Orleans since Saturday. “I don’t know how we can absorb the magnitude of this thing.”