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National Press Amiss When Storms, Flooding Hit Nashville

Posted on 17 May 2010

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When severe storms and massive flooding hit Nashville, Tennessee earlier this month, killing 23 people in the state, many national news outlets didn't initially turn their attention to the disaster, instead mainly focusing on other news, such as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the attempted bombing in Times Square in New York. In fact on CNN, Andersen Cooper apologized to the people in Nashville for not visiting the areas hit until days later. He apologized to Nashville, visited the area and provided the national coverage that was needed to raise awareness around the country.

The federal government had declared 42 counties in the region disaster areas, and flooding caused more than $1.5 billion in property damage in the Nashville area alone, city officials said. Piles of debris stretched for blocks in the city's Bellevue neighborhood on Sunday, May 9th. Soggy furniture, drywall and flooring lined the curbs as residents and volunteers tried to stay positive while cleaning up the damage flooding left behind.

In response to CNN's visit to the area, here are what some its residents wrote on Cooper's blog:

"OMG! Thank you so much for taking your time to come to Nashville and inform the rest of the U.S. on our devastation since the floods. I feel that coverage has been minimal and that many people across the U. S. have no idea how bad it is. Thank- you!!"

"As a former resident of Nashville, TN, I had been disappointed with the lack of coverage the last few days, particularly by CNN. THANK YOU, Anderson, for finally giving Nashville the coverage it deserves in this time of disaster. Now, hopefully, the rest of the country will understand the devastation facing that great city and its wonderful people."

"I hope it is reported that the flood area is equal to or greater than two-thirds the size of Pennsylvania. The way the story has been reported it sounds as though only downtown Nashville was affected. In Pittsburgh, PA the story was all of a 5 or 10 second spot. It wasn't until I got online and saw YouTube videos and Tweets that the extent of the devastation was realized. Then I started calling my family and friends that live in the region. AOSmith in Ashland City wiped out – that's the main source of income for that town; and that's just one example of a story that's being repeated throughout 52 counties. Just look at a relief map of Tennessee and you soon realize why the area affected is so huge."

"Thanks for the coverage on the big flood in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. You missed one really important part of the story, though: the storm itself. You really must talk with the local meteorologists to understand what happened and why it is so unprecedented (13, 15 and 17 inches of rain in 48 hours in some areas). It was not just your normal "river flooding." And please note it was not just Nashville but many counties in Tennessee, where entire homes were washed away, horses drowned in their stables, and many people drowned. There were even a few tornadoes. Thanks!"

"THANK YOU for showing up in Nashville. It was so refreshing to see some national attention on what has happened here this week. Our local government and volunteers have been top notch but there were many people, myself included, upset with the lack of national attention."

"Anderson, thank you very much for apologizing and for finally bringing light to the damage and devastation here in Nashville. I'm hoping that you will make it to Antioch, which was one of the harder hit areas. One of my church's buildings were seen on national TV, including cnn floating down the interstate and crumbling after hitting a tractor trailer. We need help Anderson, and much of it but again thank you for bringing some light to Nashville. I've had many friends tell me they had no idea what was going on..."