I’m not sure how to take this. A friend pointed out a post on the Columbia Journalism Review blog that referred to my “Well, Duh!” post the other day. In that post, I highlighted the glaringly obvious, yet somehow newsworthy, NY Times piece on trailers in New Orleans.
Anyone who has ever lived near or in a trailer understands they aren’t the most stable of domiciles. Having grown up in New Mexico, which has a fair share of mobile homes, a low propensity for tornados, but a high propensity of high winds, I’ve seen trailers damaged by smaller gusts than you get with hurricanes.
The author of the Columbia Journalism Review blog lumps me into a post about people beating up the NY Times and includes this:
In sum: I am criticizing the Times for reporting the obvious in its report about how something obvious somehow never occurred to FEMA.
That was exactly my point. They provided, as temporary housing to people who lost everything in a hurricane, a trailer that won’t withstand anywhere near the type of weather that destroyed their home. Well, Duh! referred to the government, the NY Times, and anyone else in the upper levels of our stratified society that a) felt we could get New Orleans rebuilt before the weather threatened these temporary shelters, and b) anyone who thought that trailers made sense as shelter in a city wrecked by a hurricane.
FEMA screwed up again, but the New York Times reported this as if they were onto some shocking secret – that trailers might not withstand a hurricane. I guarantee you the people living in them have been obsessing on that fact while they wait for their homes to be rebuilt.