Saturday, December 01, 2007

NPR Misses the Story

Over Thanksgiving weeking, NPR's Morning edition had a news story that parallelled the Washington Park Feeding the Bums story from the week prior. The story was on the surface balanced, but it wasn't long enough and in now way gave enough background. It played upon the basic extremist NGOs out to protect their funding "clashing" with the city and business owners. It gave a nice positive quote to one of the owners of CityRoots (great store by the way, they have Christmas Trees for sale!!!).

The story however just glossed over the issues. It gave no history of the neighborhood, of the effort to make a better neighborhood, and of the foolish choice to move the social services to OTR in the first place. It played into the false stereotype used by the NGOs. When people listened to that story and when they heard the term "homeless" what came to mind is the image of a person down on their luck, living out of their car, who were hurt by the system, not by any of their own actions. In reality, the people in question are "homeless" because of their own actions. They are felons, alcoholics, and drug addicts. The mentally ill are part of this group, but I would say in most cases it is not their "fault" for being there. Unless they refuse to take their meds, the fault lies with the state for eliminating institutions to care for the mentally ill, or families who are unable to find a way to care for their mentally ill kin. If people don't agree that the mentally ill should be put into good facilities, then I think they must be mentally ill themselves.

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