Friday, September 19, 2008

Coast Guard on Southern Scrap: Rest "Assured"

I'm not too familiar with Sheila Grisset of the Times-Picayune, in fact I'm not sure I've ever noticed anything she's written until today. Her article on a meeting between the local Coast Guard commander and the SE Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East was pretty atrocious. While still failing to provide any long view context as to who Southern Scrap is and the political history of it's recent ownership group, the article also fails to provide any real "news" from the Flood Authority's meeting with Coast Guard Captain Lincoln Stroh. Times-Picayune readers were subjected to a rote summary of what Mr. Stroh told "SELFPAE" (I guess?) and just a few choice quotes without any exploration as to whether or not the Coast Guard would be moving to hold Southern Scrap substantively accountable for their failure to secure their property floating in the Industrial Canal during Hurricane Gustav.

Instead we got lovely loose vessels such as these and are left to our own devices to provide the context:

"I am fully committed to you and the people of this area to help save and protect lives," Stroh told members of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East.

You know Capt. Lincoln Stroh is on the defensive when he's caught publicly reminding people about his commitment to save lives.


"Nothing was going to float if Ike had continued on," he told them. Commissioners appealed to Stroh to take a hard line if any company violates his orders in the future.

Way to go SELFPAE (WCBF pronunciation: 'Self-pay'). Dear Coast Guard, next time Southern Scrap jeopardizes the very existence of the city of New Orleans, yell at them.

Wow. That's bad.

Anyway, the thing that jumped out to me beyond that lack of useful context in the article, because I suppose that there is a possibility that T-P editors gave Ms. Grisset a very restrictive length cap, was her repetitive phrasing.

Children, what did Captain Stroh do to the SELFPAE?

He "assured."

In fact, he, in Ms. Grisset's word, "assured" members of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East three times within a very short article.

Eh, maybe I'm being hard on her. (Mirror check: my writing is horrendously wordy all of the time and just plain horrendous some of the time.)

I don't know about everybody else, but I don't want the Coast Guard's "assurance" that 'this won't happen again.' I want Southern Scrap to be punished. I want them out of the Industrial Canal entirely and I want the city and the Coast Guard to recoup monetary damages for actions necessitated by the vessels that Scrap officials failed to properly secure.

I don't think it would have compromised Ms Grisset's objectivity to press Captain Stroh and members of SELFPAE just a little bit about the possibility of actual penalties being levied against Southern Scrap.

But I never went to journalism school so what the hell do I know?


BlueNorway.Org said...

See http://BlueNorway.Org/#gustav for more information on the SoREC incidents.

Anonymous said...

You clearly never learned how to fact check either; which at least till "new media" was a baseline requirement for non-tabloid journalists.

Concerned Citizen who wants NOLA to flourish