Hey local-, state- and nation-level newsmedia fucks, Redding doesn’t “look like a warzone,” it looks like a small Northern California city that is somehow being singed (rather severely) by the typical summer fire in these parts. This is what a fire looks like—more specifically, this is what a forest fire looks like when it has been horribly mishandled.
It is certainly not okay to transmute the surprise and shock at ineffective response into increased hopelessness, confusion and disorientation. The most crucial aspect of a media outlet is to report the facts and inform the public so that they may make effective decisions to protect themselves and their families in times of crisis and otherwise. It is certainly not to release information piecemeal and maintain uncertainty; this creates a dangerous void that is filled by rampant speculation and misinformation through social media, such as Facebook.
People need to be equipped with accurate details—that which is known and that which is not known—so that they can support and protect themselves when no other support or protection exists. For these reasons and others, media must always serve the people, like the government, but function independently and even be distrustful of the government.
My hometowns are on fire and some amount of this destruction could have been prevented. To add insult to injury, many people have unnecessarily lost important possessions and pets in addition to their homes, and at least five people are now burnt to a crisp. Information that could have been available was missing at critical times, and this has resulted in more needless grief and loss.