Cabbages and Kings

A diary by the authors of the Louis Kincaid series

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Location: Fort Lauderdale/Elk Rapids, Florida and Michigan, United States

We are the New York Times bestselling authors of the Louis Kincaid series and other stand alone thrillers. We have taught writing at major conferences for ten years.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Hitting home

Sometimes you can't see the forest through the trees. Well, now that Hurricane Wilma has sheared most the trees away, I can see the forest pretty damn clearly. And I can't believe what I'm seeing.

I am up in New Jersey, a refugee from the hurricane that blasted my hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. I was up here on business when it hit and now I can't get home. Yeah, yeah, I know...you're probably tired of hearing about hurricanes. So was I. Until this one hit home. But now, stranded up here, I am starved for news about what is going on. And there isn't any. News, that is. Every morning I got up and turned on the news channels -- CNN, MSNBC, etc. Sure, they showed the cool, colorful spiral as it hovered over the Yucatan. And then they had some footage of flooding in Naples and other west coast Florida towns. What they DIDN'T show was the devastation on the EAST coast, where Wilma did the most damage. Millions without power, no gas, no food, homes blown apart. And now, five days after the storm, we are still under curfew, FP&L is saying we might not have power back until Thanksgiving and old people stranded in their retirement gulags can't get food.

CNN stopped covering this story days ago. And the exalted New York Times never really bothered. I guess not all the news IS fit to print. Baby Bush did his drop-by photo-op, hugged a black woman, and split. Okay, I get that Bush has bigger problems these days what with the CIA leak investigation, supreme court non-nominee and 2,000 and counting American military deaths in Iraq. Forget about FEMA being a no-show. What rots my socks that the media is MIA on this one. Maybe it's hurricane fatigue. Maybe it's the fact that only 10 people died in Florida and our images aren't as horrific as New Orleans. After all, how many cars in uprooted trees can you look at?

But I was a journalist for 25 years and I just don't get it. And neither do you -- the news, that is. If you live outside of Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale or Miami, you don't have any idea of what is going on down there. I guess what I am trying to say here is that there is an object lesson here, something I have always known but never saw in such a personal light. Beware of what you read or hear from the media. Or rather, beware of what you DON'T read or hear. And I am not talking about just hurricanes.

Okay. Enough of a rant. Tomorrow, I will go back to blogging about writing, I promise. In the meantime, if youwant to see what is left of my hometown, go to www.sun-sentinel.com

3 Comments:

Anonymous Mark Terry said...

I hope it all works out for you. It seemed to me that Florida got forgotten, as far as hurricanes go. Whether it's "Hurricane Fatigue" or the news turned back to various Bush debacles involving Supreme Court nominees, I don't know, but I hope it works out for you.

Best,
Mark Terry

12:02 PM  
Blogger PJ Parrish said...

Thanks Mark. I live in a condo that was built after Andrew so the codes -- and the buildings -- are stronger now. So many folks aren't as fortunate. Today they are slapping condemned stickers on apartments and homes. Can't imagine what that feels like.

2:17 PM  
Blogger For The Trees said...

As a long-ago journalism major I cringe at what's NOT being told, and I cringe at what IS being told...

In South Texas there were a few isolated killings in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, just across the river from Laredo Texas. According to the San Antonio papers & TV stations, there was open warfare and gunfighting in the major streets.

Doesn't make any sense. However, there ARE conspiracy theories...

It's terrible how quickly the hurricane disaster coverage fell off. It seems if they can't get a visual that is heartrending, it's not news. Egad.

Harry! Get your camera over here on this dead baby!!

I think the whole country's gone to pot. I think the Big Money interests who control the news media are purposefully shortchanging the populace. Then again, maybe they don't feel like the average Joe even cares - what with layoffs and pension plan defaults and Plan D Medicare and you name it...

Forrest

3:21 PM  

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