The two things you have to have when covering a disaster are reporters on the scene and TV commercials. Without the commercials, you would not be able to watch Hurricane Katrina.
It's reality TV at its best.
Reporter: "I'm standing in front of this rubble with a man who refuses to leave the city. He has lost his home, his dog, and his wife left town. Before he tells us how he feels, let's pause for this message."
Voice-over: You are dying for pizza. It is right around the corner. You have six toppings to choose from. Our delivery boy will be there in an hour.
Second voice-over: Your present aspirin isn't doing the job. Switch to Whizvil and notice the difference in 30 minutes.
Another commercial. Thinking of buying a new car? This is the time to do it. Fleet Motors will give you a rebate of $3,000. But you have to act now. Our sale ends October 1.
Back to reporter. "Sir, why are you staying in New Orleans?"
"It's my home, dummy, and no National Guard private is going to kick me out."
Reporter: "When we come back, we will talk to a colonel with the National Guard."
Commercial: How would you like an icy cold beer while watching the NFL game? Four out of five fans love the taste of Shimkin Light. It's the beer you should serve to your crazy friends.
Next commercial: There are credit cards and there are credit cards. Mackcharge can give you the best things money can buy -- and you don't have to wait until you can afford it. Our customers not only refuse to leave home without it, but they also keep it under their pillows when they sleep at night.
Back to reporter. "I am standing here with Colonel Spottsville of the Louisiana National Guard. Colonel, where were you when New Orleans needed you?"
"I was watching the storm on television. How could I know the Gulf Coast would need us?"
Reporter: "It turns out they did, and very badly."
Colonel: "We got here as fast as we could, but our trucks didn't arrive until three days after the storm because the plan was never in place."
"How the hell do I know? Probably someone in the Pentagon who didn't know diddly-doo about what a hurricane is really like."
Reporter: "After these messages, we will talk to a looter who was caught trying to remove a Frigidaire from a store."
Commercial: Don't say any more. Just go into the store and ask for Mother Heidi's Apple Pie. If you want to say more, ask for Mother Heidi's Cheese Cake, and if you can't stop talking, get Mother Heidi's Chocolate Nut Brownies. Yum-yum-yum.
Next commercial: Bad breath? Everyone knows it but you. The best way to meet friends is to gargle with Blizterine, which comes in an aquamarine bottle.
Commercial: If you have high cholesterol, ask your doctor to prescribe Fatnex. If he doesn't know what Fatnex is, get a new doctor.
Reporter: "I am standing here with Harlan G., a looter who is just about to be taken to the Angola penitentiary. Harlan, did you loot because everyone else did?"
"Nope. I was a looter before Hurricane Katrina. Every time there was a hurricane I came home with a TV set, an air conditioner, a set of golf clubs, three tennis rackets and two-dozen pairs of Nike running shoes."
"Are you sorry you got caught?"
"Nobody likes to get caught. But I'll be out in no time. Maybe I'll even learn to play golf."
"Thanks, Harlan. Now back to New York and a message from our sponsors."
(c) 2005, Tribune Media Services