Qualcomm V. Superdome: Blurring The Differences
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The Washington Post’s lead editorial today ”Not Another Katrina” was intended to put out a potential brushfire that the newspaper touched off in yesterday’s front page coverage of the calm, orderly, and relatively peaceful scene surrounding the thousands of evacuees who have fled to Qualcomm stadium in San Diego from their fire ravaged homes, which stands in sharp contrast to the horrific scene of chaos, violence, and disorder at the Superdome two years ago following hurricane Katrina.

Of course the real concern is buried in today’s WP editorial: "Some will be tempted to attribute the quick action exclusively to race."

The editorial goes on to note that San Diego County is predominantly white, therefore wealthier, while the population of New Orleans is largely black and poorer.

Yesterday’s WP coverage quoted San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, "This is a neighbor-helping-neighbor situation."

Staff Sgt. Zell Evans, who spent 45 days in New Orleans after the 2005 hurricane noted the Qualcomm difference: "This is real different from Katrina.Here? There's no fear, no pushing, no fighting. Everybody is calm. It's just a completely different situation."[In the Great State of Serenity, Staying Cool Amid the Flames By William Booth and Sonya Geis, October 24, 2007 ]

Dean Beavers, quoted by Cox News Service said, ”I’m from New Orleans , and this place is completely different.... There’s a different culture here.”[Stadium like a resort vs. Superdome By Bob Keefe,October 24, 2007 ]

Could it just be that a major reason why chaos, violence, and raw sewage were prevalent conditions in the Superdome, and cots, blankets, yoga classes, Starbucks coffee, and neighborly cooperation dominated the scene at Qualcomm is due to differences of the evacuees, which are not just socioeconomic but also racial and behavioral in nature? Why is the human element in the press coverage of natural disasters so typical of other news items whereby race is never a relevant factor?

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