The majority of outlets have treated the building collapse tragedy with respect and reporting focused on the facts. A handful of outlets needlessly injected politics into the story.
In Surfside, Florida where a residential condo building collapsed last week, the death toll stands at 9 with at least ten dozen still missing.
- The building and site, which was of concern to an engineering consultant in 2018 who warned the high rise “had major structural damage”, will be inspected by a group of scientists and engineers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
- According to the Associated Press, building residents were set to begin making payments on a $9 million repair projectto address the areas of concern from the 2018 engineer’s report.
- As the rescue and recovery operations continue, the families of the missing were able to visit in the hopes “their visit would allow them to shout messages to loved ones” possibly buried alive.
- The rescue and recovery operation are being aided by teams from Mexico and Israel who have recovery experience after natural disasters and wars.
- Slate linked the building collapse to climate change and suggested disasters like this will become more common.
- Reporting in The New York Times dimmed the hopes of finding any more survivors, saying the time to shift from search and rescue to recovery is rapidly approaching as few have been found still alive days after the collapse.
- CNN reported on anecdotal evidence from residents saying the condo building was subject to shaking, water leaks, and damage as a result of construction of a nearby high rise.
- OANN highlighted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s effort to connect affected locals with FEMA resources, also saying “something very unusual happened here” and that the team of engineers from NIST will be critical in the effort to determine the cause of the tower collapse.
- Concerns about other Miami-Dade buildings built before the 1990s, when Hurricane Andrew ravaged the Florida coast, were the focus of Newsmax and the Miami-Dade mayor, who offered a voluntary evacuation of an identical “sister building” to the collapsed condo which had no record of structural damage.
- Fox News noted the outrageously poor reporting from Washington Post writer Hannah Dreier who, without requesting comment from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office, wrote that he failed to request federal emergency assistance immediately. Dreier was immediately criticized by several people including a press aide for DeSantis debunking her claim.
The Surfside building collapse is a terrible tragedy, one in which pursuing a partisan agenda in the immediate aftermath is unseemly, irresponsible, and frankly, disgusting. It is heartening to see that for the most part, outlets on the left and right are steering clear of partisan hackery.
But one would expect nothing less from Slate, which might as well be an Ivy League faculty lounge blog, and Washington Post, which has dedicated itself to becoming the daily paper for the Democratic National Committee. The Post reporter’s willingness to A-report without properly vetting her information, and B-not request comment from the people in question displays such a profound lack of professionalism that to question their motives and bias is justifiable.
Hannah Dreier’s nakedly political criticism of DeSantis is not the first time the liberal media has gone after DeSantis half-cocked. As he gains steam nationally and becomes a potential successor to Trump-style belligerency of taking the media head-on, these baseless smear campaigns masquerading as journalism will continue.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021