Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Oprah in New Orleans

With her hair smoothed back in a ponytail —a suitable demure style for a visit to the devastated city of New Orleans— Ms. Winfrey showed once again that at heart she's a reporter, a journalist, and a good one. But more than that. true to her calling, she held hands, looked people in the eye as they related their stories of misery.

Any idea what it takes to do that? What it means to listen to people, to have physical contact while they lay their pain on you?

In front of Oprah Winfrey, Mayor C.Ray Nagin spilled his heart, turning away when what he had to say became too much, even for a man who had stood his ground, refusing to be evacuated while so many inhabitants of his city were forced to remain.

During the evening news a reporter, whose name I don't even know yet, made me miss the grand old men of journalism, who for the past decades reported on the calamities in the world, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings.
Oprah stepped forward to report on the reality of the situation in New Orleans and in Houston; people, worrying about their lost loved ones. And through her celebrity friends, Harpo's cameras permitted us images of whole families roaming the desolate streets, people not wanting to abandon their pets, people lying dead by the side of the road.
Dr. Mehmet Oz permitted us a view of the make-shift hospital in the airport, and returned after having disappeared behind a curtain —the morgue— to share his distress over people who were brought in there, to have a peaceful place to die.

Without name calling, Oprah stated America owes an apology to the people of New Orleans, and isn't she right on the dollar?
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