If you’ve just been rescued after being stranded at a gas station for five days during Hurricane Harvey’s record setting rainfall, I imagine the last thing you want is a cable news network capitalizing on your survival. But a woman introduced by her first name, Danielle, agreed to appear on CNN and describe her family’s rescue. The interview was cut short when Danielle, standing with her shivering daughter, challenged CNN’s Rosa Flores about the network’s coverage of Harvey and apparent lack of empathy for its victims.
“We had been there for like five days with no food, no lights and nobody came,” Danielle told Flores at the beginning of her interview. “We walked through four feet of water to get them food on the first day. Yeah, that’s a lot of shit.”
When Flores asked about her experience as a mother during the flood, Danielle, visibly distraught, answered bluntly and honestly. “Y’all sit here, y’all try and interview people at their worst times, that’s not the smartest thing to do,” Danielle said. “Like people are really breaking down and y’all are sitting here with cameras and microphones trying to ask us what the fuck is wrong with us.”
“And you’re really trying to understand, with the microphone still in my face, with me shivering cold, with my kids wet, and you’re still putting the microphone in my face,” Danielle continued as Flores backed away apologizing.
Danielle’s emotional response has been characterized as a “furious outburst” or “lashing out” or “going off.” Honestly, can you really blame her? Covering a disaster is not easy, I get it, but Danielle’s visceral reaction is not cause for an indictment. CNN is hardly innocent — this is the network whose International Chief, Tony Maddox, described Trump’s presidency as “good for business.” If anything, Danielle’s candor captured what we know to be true: CNN, its counterparts, and even the president, profit off of calamity. (Sorry, Kellyanne Conway, Fox News is just as guilty.)
Flores was doing her job, so criticism of her is irrelevant and ineffective, but perhaps Danielle’s so-called outburst should be lauded rather than disparaged. CNN is not a victim, Danielle and her family are.
Here’s the full video of Danielle and Flores’ exchange: