Edited By William M. Reynolds
Chapter Five: Drowning Democracy: The Media, Neoliberalism and the Politics of Hurricane Katrina
The Media, Neoliberalism and the Politics of Hurricane Katrina1
HENRY A. GIROUX
From the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement to the war in Vietnam, images of human suffering and violence provided the grounds for a charged political indignation and collective sense of moral outrage inflamed by the horrors of poverty, militarism, war, and racism—eventually mobilizing widespread opposition to these antidemocratic forces. Of course, the seeds of a vast conservative counter-revolution were already well underway as images of a previous era—“whites only” signs, segregated schools, segregated housing, and nonviolent resistance to these from African Americans—gave way to a troubling iconography of cities aflame, mass rioting, and armed black youths who came to embody the very precepts of lawlessness, disorder, and criminality. Building on the reactionary rhetoric of Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, bringing with him a trickle-down theory that would transform corporate America and a corresponding visual economy. The twin images of the young black male “gangsta” and his counterpart, the “welfare queen,” became the primary vehicles for selling the American public on the need to dismantle the welfare state, ushering in an era of unprecedented deregulation, downsizing, privatization, and regressive taxation. The propaganda campaign was so successful that George H. W. Bush could launch his 1988 presidential bid with the image of Willie Horton, an African American man convicted of rape and granted early...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.