He contrasts the early hysterical reporting of massive numbers of casualties, snipers, roving gangs of rapists, cannibalism, and other horrible things in the wake of Katrina, with more sober reporting in the cold light of day.
Numerous articles since then have revealed there's no evidence any of the above took place. The death toll for all of Louisiana, which is rather bigger than just New Orleans, appears to be about 1,000.So what? Well...
...for all of the talk about violent deaths that never materialized, it appears that the talk itself led to real deaths.At least two patients died awaiting evacuation from New Orleans Charity Hospital. Evacuation was halted for a day because of reports of sniper fire.
Similar reports delayed evacuation from the Superdome.
Rumors of unrest caused the military to concentrate resources on maintaining combat mode, which made these resources unavailable for rescue operations.
The mayor also ordered the police force to abandon search-and-rescue efforts in order to deal with non-existent "roving bands".
It may never be possible to show that any one person's death resulted from the hysterical coverage, but a strong statistical case can be made that some did.