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1 chart shows what's wrong with how the media covered the week's 2 big news stories.

Puerto Rico might not drive ratings, but it deserves our attention.

1 chart shows what's wrong with how the media covered the week's 2 big news stories.
People walk across a flooded street in Juana Matos in September 2017. Photo by Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images.

Hey! Remember Puerto Rico?

There was a big hurricane back in September 2017 that knocked out the power to the whole island leaving a bunch of U.S. citizens in the literal dark and without safe drinking water. President Donald Trump even went there to throw some paper towels. It was a whole thing.


Ring a bell?

This week, we learned that the government's estimate of 64 hurricane-related deaths was off by, oh, 4,600 or so. Unfortunately, you might not have heard about it.

You might be thinking, "Wait, how? I keep up with the news. How did I miss this story?"

The answer: Most cable news outlets barely covered it. For the most part, the story was overshadowed by coverage of ABC's decision to cancel "Roseanne" following a racist Twitter post by the show's star.

Media Matters, a liberal-leaning media watchdog group, looked at how the three major cable news outlets — Fox News, CNN, MSNBC — covered the new report on Puerto Rico compared to Roseanne Barr's tweet and subsequent firing.

Using data from May 29 and the morning of May 30, Media Matters found that Roseanne's story got more than 20 times as much coverage as the Puerto Rico report.

Here's another way to look at that data. Clearly, we're not seeing the full picture.

Photos by Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images, Mario Tama/Getty Images.

We cannot forget the people of Puerto Rico. The tragedy was horrible, and for many, it's not over. There are still ways we can and should help.

Organizations like All Hands and Hearts, Direct Relief, Americares, Hispanic Federation, and Habitat for Humanity are still on the ground helping people rebuild their lives. We owe it to our fellow Americans to help, to never forget the tragedy that hit them, and to no longer let the rapid-fire pace of the news cycle bump these types of stories from the front of our minds.

Our news media owes it to us to give as much attention to the thousands of lost American lives as it gives to whatever the daily bit of Hollywood drama happens to be. (Admittedly, we wrote about the Roseanne drama earlier this week, as well.)

I don't know if there's something we, as a whole, could have done differently to help the people of Puerto Rico in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

But I do know that it's on us to honor those lost as the result of the storm and apply whatever lessons are to be taken from this horrific event to reduce the damage of future disasters.

Courtesy of Creative Commons
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Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

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Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

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