According to the LA Times, the media has distorted many reports of the barbaric events that happened in the Superdome and the New Orleans Convention Center. All those reports of hundreds of bodies, multiple rapes, babies found in trash cans, and even sharks can be taken with a grain of salt.
This of course is no surprise. Given the lack of communication at the place and the possibility that these reports have been motivated by race the confusion did lead to urban legends very quickly. Catastrophic events always do generate horror stories that seem almost biblical.
The real tragedy of these stories is the fact that people will still believe them no matter how many times they've been shot down. People who have any sort of prejudice in them are already using these stories to affirm their racist tendencies. I've heard them in passing from various acquaintances. The damage has been done and there's really no recovering from these mythic reports.
And who was one of the leaders of flinging these claims across the airwaves you ask? Yes none other then Rupert Murdoch's brain child Fox News.
"This country is a better place because Fox News has succeeded." - Bill O'Reilly
Katrina Takes a Toll on Truth, News Accuracy