Hearne: Fear & Loathing in Joplin, Missouri with Anderson Cooper / Tornado Map

Whole lotta shaking going on Joplin way as the tornado ravaged burg preps for the first anniversary of last May’s disaster…

Recent national news has centered on the demolition of the stricken Saint John’s Mercy hospital. And naturally, the Star has milked its fair share of tear jerker survivor tales from the tragedy.

But it’s the news that’s not been covered…

Staring with an ongoing controversy over a proposed tourism map of Joplin’s tornado damage. Something critcs label as tacky and disrespectful, and it’s generating a second wave of controvery over its creation by the Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau.

"The director of the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau said he is committed to providing a map of the tornado zone with information about key points despite more public controversy generated by it, this time by reports on The Weather Channel," reads yesterday’s report in the Joplin Globe. "Mayor Mike Woolston said Monday that the city does not intend to make money off ‘disaster tourism,’ but that it will not turn away anyone who wants to see the recovery effort “and celebrate the success with us.”

Locals who lost friends or relatives in the twister say cashing in on storm damage for tourism is bogus.

Even Weather Channel personality Mike Bettes "scolded" the CVB for capitalizing on the tragedy to attract tourism.

And while the CVB says they’re not looking for tornado tourism, "(CVB head Patrick Tuttle) said the map, which shows the entire tornado zone and marks the sites of St. John’s, Joplin High School, the ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ houses and others, was made because travelers were asking for directions to them," the Globe reports. "Visitors also were asking questions about the storm and its effects, he said. Details about the tornado and its impact are listed on the back of the map. Tuttle said the city wants to get out correct details so that volunteers and travelers are not misinformed."

How ugly are things? Very.

“Our Facebook is a tourism piece,” Tuttle told the Globe. “It’s not designed to be a hate page."

The map would be handed out by motels, restaurants and tourism centers to travelers who inquire about the storm and driections to the damage, Tuttle said.

Another pending controversy centers around the possible return of CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.

Seems some of the City Fathers are hoping Cooper won’t make the return trip for the anniversary later this year.

"They don’t want him back," says a source close to the situation. "For the first 24 or 36 hours he was down there after the storm he was great, they say. Then he did a 360 on the Joplin Morgue. He said they were doing some things atthe morgue that they shouldn’t have been doing."

The video of Cooper’s controversial report in question is headlined, "Joplin Morgue Slow to Identify Bodies."

After long and painful interviews with a teary father who’s son had died and another unhappy tornado victim, Cooper said: "What’s frustrating however to other families is that both found out about their kids unofficially and informally by back channels. Other families have said to us, if those kids were able to be identified, why can’t their families have someone visit the morgue and check for their loved ones…Some of the explanations for the delays and the red tape and the rules haven’t made much sense to people that are searching for their loved ones. And as we said, some people in Joplin continue to be very frustrated."

The heat rained down on Cooper from the get go with comments on CNN’s Web site ranging from, Clara Lauer‘s, "I saw your Morgue reporting last night, and was so angry I had to turn off your show. I watch your show almost every night because I think it is mostly unbiased and complete. However, in every natural disaster I find that you look for sensationalism angles and this episode last night was the worst so far. As a person with a medical background, although not in Pathology/Medical Examiner area, I can think of several reasons why there is such a delay" to somebody named Kim‘s," How exactly do you expect the morgue to let family members know? They don’t know who they are. This report sounds like it’s pointing some sort of blame on the morgue, and I think that’s unfair. I’m sure they’re a bit overwhelmed right now."

"Please, do not agitate this very grave and heartbreaking event," added J.A. Finch.

"I am curious to know if you expect the civilian authorities to allow hundreds of grief stricken relatives to wander through a room of unidentified body parts in order to calm every loved ones understandable desire to have an immediate answer when one is just not possible," said Richard Curl. "PLEASE stop the drama and just report the d*** news."

Eight months later the vitriol toward Cooper hasn’t gone away, sources say.

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5 Responses to Hearne: Fear & Loathing in Joplin, Missouri with Anderson Cooper / Tornado Map

  1. Smartman says:

    Mini Cooper
    Typical shithead liberal. Answers NEVER come fast enough when death is involved. I can’t imagine what a frenzy it was in a morgue, in a city used to seeing one or two bodies a week, if that. You can’t train or prepare for that kind of disaster. Unless there was some necrophilia or organ harvesting going on Andy should have just shut the fuck up.

    Capitalism being what it is will always spark the entrepreneurial spirit for better or for worse. I trust that in a city like Joplin people that get too carried away with the profit motive from this disaster will get the shit beat out of them, kinda like Jack Twist in Brokeback Mountain.

  2. Super Dave says:

    Cooper is a disaster junkie
    I swear between Cooper and Glazer I don’t know which one makes me want to throw up the worst every time they open their mouths.

  3. chuck says:

    I have heard that Sean Penn
    was in Joplin right after the tornado with a film crew, and he saved 40 people in his BMW Nazca M 12.

    If ya close your eyes, you can hear French Horns and the theme for the “Fanfare For The Common Man.”

    Adam Lambert can probably read the news as well as Anderson Cooper, but hell, everyone has to make a living.

    That town was wrecked biblically, and, that with all the concomitant stories, is newsworthy.

    To quote a great man, “All of the media lies to us.”

    In addition, they apparently exaggerate and mislead us.

  4. paulwilsonkc says:

    This is my old home town…..
    A friend called as soon as it hit and told me to turn on a “scanner app” on the phone that lets you hear police. It was hard to explain hearing the voices of the police and the shock. One call where they were asked to go to 32nd and Connecticut to remove a body from the street. The cops reply? “Id love to, but I have NO idea where 32nd and Connecticut is!!” All the landmarks goen, street signs gone…. no way to know anything.

    I went down shortly after and had the same experience. I had no idea where I was most of the time. Hard to beleive.

  5. Jim says:

    Can’t be Described
    i have a family member that was the lead for the MO HP. The effort required to eliminate names off of the “missing” list was enormous. Any criticism by “media types” or those people in the ratings game are disgraceful. Trying to restore some sense of order to a disaster of biblical proportions is an impossible job. Search and rescue personel went DAYS without sleep in an effort to help people. Exactly what is the protocol for piling up bits and pieces of loved ones and then trying to get them identified? They call them tragedies for a reason. They are tragic.

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