Making the news

Time Magazine’s Jay Newton-Small:

It’s been frustrating then, to watch foreign, especially U.S., news crews pull up to Cite Soleil and start walking down the street with cameras and lights and audio booms. Of course, they would cause a stir. And then all it takes is one card handed out, one bottle of water given to a child in sympathy and it provokes a stampede of folks all under the misapprehension that there’s some form of aid to be had. Jostling begins and suddenly, BREAKING NEWS THERE’S RIOTING IN HAITI!!!

Personally, I have seen no real riots: after the tv crews sprint back to the vehicles the crowd disbands and everyone goes home. But the longer the tv crew remains the more violent the crowd gets: people are desperate especially when they think they’re vying for a few pieces of food or water that they may not get if they’re not out in front. The UN, for example, hired Haitians with megaphones to walk up and down the line assuring people this morning that everyone on line would receive food and water – this calms down the ones behind and stops them from pushing to the front. TV crews obviously don’t do this and, I was told by some U.S. military sources, are potentially leaving behind hurt, injured or dead from the mini-riots they incite.